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As Jesus prepared to begin His ministry, He went to John to be baptized. John was perplexed by such a request and said, “I need to be baptized by You, and do you come to me”? Jesus answered that this was to fulfill all righteousness and was baptized. When this happened, the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven like a dove and a voice from Heaven said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” 

The ministry of Jesus was now ready to begin.

 Immediately after His baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil. Three different temptations were given and, for each temptation, Jesus quoted from the Old Testament about maintaining loyalty to God. These certainly were not the only temptations Jesus experienced; Satan continued his efforts to derail the plan of God right up to the death of Jesus on the cross.

 In facing all of these temptations, Jesus understood what it is like when we are tempted. In fact, we find this passage in the New Testament: “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). This High Priest is Jesus and He not only knows how we feel when tempted but also shows that temptations can be overcome. 

As a part of His earthly ministry, Jesus chose twelve men to serve as His apostles. These men were in close contact with Jesus throughout His ministry. He taught them many things that they were to teach others after He left the earth. 

Jesus’ primary focus in His mission was to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven. By this, He was showing how people could overcome sin and have a good relationship with God. This meant accepting God as their King and developing a willing heart to love and serve Him. To demonstrate the genuineness of His message, Jesus worked many miracles. These miracles proved that He was no ordinary man. Some were convinced by these mighty works, while some refused to believe. Those who rejected His miracles rejected His gracious offer of salvation. Still, others looked in amazement and listened to the words Jesus spoke. The message of God divided people then as it does now; some will listen, while others reject.

For about three years, Jesus taught His apostles, spoke to large crowds about salvation, had many conversations about God with individuals, and worked many signs, wonders, and miracles. All of this was leading to the most important events in the history of the world. Jesus knew that His death must come as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind and that He would be raised from the dead as proof of being God. When the time came, Jesus was accused of all manner of made-up crimes; yet He willingly allowed humans to nail Him to a cross, where He died. 

For three days, the world thought it had defeated Jesus and proven that He was no savior, but rather a powerless imposter. However, early on Sunday morning after His death, women went to His tomb to place spices around His body. They found no body; rather, they found an empty tomb. Jesus was resurrected and back from the dead! In this great event, He had demonstrated His mighty power and proved He was much more than some teacher; He was the Son of God and Savior of the world!

For 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus remained on earth. During this time, He told His apostles their work was to begin very soon and instructed them on their mission. He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a). The plan of God had now been completed. The apostles would take this message of salvation to the world and, through the writings of the Bible, to you!

 In our next lesson, we will see God’s plans for everyone who desires to be a part of His kingdom.