…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

How extensive was Jesus’ 3-year ministry?

A geographical view of Jesus ministry,
… parable of the the mustard seed,

31 He told them another parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like
a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.

32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows,
it is the largest of garden plants
and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Matthew 13:31,32  (NIV)

13 “You are the salt of the earth. …

14 “You are the light of the world. …
Matthew 5:13, 14 (NIV)

While looking at maps of Jesus’ 3-year ministry, was pleasantly amazed that Jesus covered the length and breath of the land.  The maps demonstrated Jesus extensive journey proclaiming the kingdom of God,

Jesus started out from the North of Jerusalem, … from Nazareth, …. around the Sea of Galilee.

Matthew 9:35,36 (NIV)
35 Jesus went through  all  the towns and villages,

teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.

And Jesus achieved all this …. by walking,
and sailing (Lake Galilee),

…long before planes, Internet, social media, streaming videos, satellite, TV, etc.

Here’s a map of some of the major cities during Jesus time.Jesusmap

When Jesus sent & empowered the 12 (Matthew 10, Luke 9), the 72 (Luke 10) to,

Luke 10:1, 9 (NIV)
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him
to every town and place

where he was about to go.

For seventy-two disciples, sent out two by two, … i.e. at least 36 towns.
They went ahead to these towns/places, … and Jesus would soon visit as well.

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field

Heal the sick who are there and tell them,
‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

and others like the man who was set free from a legion of demons in Decapolis, and Samaritan woman at the well,
… the kingdom of God was proclaimed in Israel, Samaria, Decapolis & northern Gentile areas Tyre & Sidon.

Mark 5:18 (NIV)
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said,
“Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him.
And all the people were amazed.

The Decapolis was a Gentile area, … so technically the first evangelist to the Gentiles was the the man who was set free from from demons.

Matthew 15:21-28 (NIV)
Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And a Canaanite woman from that region
came out and began to cry out, saying,
“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.”
And her daughter was healed at once.

In Mark’s account of this story, he gives us further background of this Canaanite woman:
26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia.
She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
Mark 7:26 (NIV)

Jesus also ministered in the far North,
to the Gentile area of Tyre and Sidon.
Jesus set the Canaanite woman’s daughter free from demons
up North in the region of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21-28)

Thus, … perhaps why Jesus started his ministry in the North of Israel,

Mark 7:31 (NIV)
31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon,    (predominantly Gentile)
down to the Sea of Galilee    (predominantly Jewish) 
and into the region of the Decapolis.      (predominantly Gentile)

And then in Samaria — a people of mixed heritage of Jew & Gentile
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39 (NIV)

and all the way down South to Judea,
But they [the chief priests] insisted,
“He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching.
He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

Luke 23:5 (NIV)

Wherever Jesus went, crowds from far and wide gathered to hear, see, experience & receive Jesus’ ministry – teaching and miracles/healings.

Matthew 4:23-25 (NIV)
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

24 News about him spread all over Syria,and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.

25 Large crowds from

the Decapolis,
Jerusalem, Judea
and the region across the Jordan

followed him.

Its no wonder why the religious leaders were concerned about Jesus.

Luke 7:17
This news about Jesus spread
throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Mark 3:8 (NIV)
When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him
from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea
and the regions across the Jordan
and around Tyre and Sidon

Luke 5:17 (NIV)
One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there.
They had come from every village of Galilee
and from Judea and Jerusalem.
And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.

Along His journey, Jesus not only addressed mass crowds, but also took time to dine with tax collectors, prostitutes and gluttons (Luke 7:34) … he stopped … spoke/ministered personally to individuals along the way.  He also patiently spent time reasoning out with the religious leaders, who challenged Him.
He patiently ministered, sometime all day, … not in a hurry … always, with a warm personal touch, … healing those who had sickness and evil spirits.

Sometimes, Jesus travelled far just to meet one person, … like the man in Decapolis, and set him free.
Like the one lost sheep, each one was important & dearly loved by Him.

So when Jesus said,
Therefore go
and make disciples
of all nations ”  ( Matthew 28:19)
He certainly set the example for us to follow Him.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere,
and the Lord worked with them
and confirmed his word by the signs
that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20 (NIV).

But you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8 NIV

For John the Baptist, his ministry influence was also extensive as well,

Matthew 3:1-5 (NIV)
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 

People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

People from Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region of Jordan came to listen to John the Baptist.

On a side note, when we look at the map, interestingly,
John the Baptist ministry began in the wilderness of Judea, in the South,
while Jesus ministry began from Nazareth, and around Galilee, in the North,
finally coming down South to Jerusalem.
The wisdom of God 🙂 .

Long after John died, … Paul found some of John’s disciples further up north in Ephesus, in Asia Minor, among the Gentiles.

Acts 19:1-3 (NIV)
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples
and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

At Ephesus, another person who was a disciple of John’s ministry was Apollos from Alexandria, Egypt (Africa),

Acts 18:24-26 (NKJV)
24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.
26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

Indeed, like mustard seed,

Matthew 13:31 (NIV)
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

Similarly, when the Holy Spirit was poured onto the 120 disciples on the day of Pentecost …

Acts 2:5-12 (NKJV)
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” 

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

It was a strategic time …
devout men, from every nation under heaven were gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost, 

Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia,
Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene,
visitors from Rome,
both Jews and proselytes,
Cretans and Arabs

—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”

Those gathered covered a wide area
from the north, south, east and west of Jerusalem,
as far west as Rome,
as far east as Parthia, Media, Elam,
from 16 parts of the world,

both Jews and proselytes (Gentiles converted to Judaism)
— bilingual and bi-cultural,
thoroughly equipped to go to the nations.

The first church on the day of Pentecost was
… multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multicutural !

The people were culturally & linguistically ready to carry the Gospel of Jesus to the nations, … they also had family and friends in these nations.  These devout men were discipled by the original disciples of Jesus, after entering the kingdom of God on Pentecost.

Acts 2:42 (NIV)
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Later, when persecution came, … like seeds they were dispersed far and wide, …

Acts 8:1,  11:19-21 (NIV)
… On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed
traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.

20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

In Acts, before printing, … with limited copies of the scriptures (before the canon of the Bible),
the word of God spread across the region, … Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, … and beyond (eg Rome).

The trail continues to be blazed by each & every generation of believers.

Just for completeness in this  sharing,
… what are the birds on the mustard tree in Matthew 13:32?
Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

One day, while travelling on the road, spotted quite a number of  large crane-like birds perched above a date palm, moving from branch to branch, balancing precariously.  They were feeding on the dates on the palm.
This tree was fruiful.

Echoing the earlier verse in Matthew 13,

Matthew 13:23
23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

From a tiny seed
… to the largest of garden plants
… to fruits
… to multiplied seeds to sow

Further Reading:

  • A set of  chronological maps of Jesus ministry, click here.
  • An annotated map of Jesus 3-year ministry, click here.
  • Map of overseas Jews present on day of Pentecost, click here

  Missions | Serving Quietly

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
March 24, 2015

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
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This entry was posted on March 24, 2015 by in Ministry, Missions, Serving Quietly, Sharing Jesus, Stepping Stones and tagged , .

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