Day 2

Jesus Prepares for Ministry

from the reading plan

Matthew 3:1-17, Matthew 4:1-25, Isaiah 40:1-5, John 1:1-13

My wife and I were in London during the days leading up to the coronation of King Charles last year. The entire city, especially Buckingham Palace, was preparing for those dramatic moments when the king and queen would be formally inaugurated on the world stage. I couldn’t help but notice the stark contrast between the drama and fanfare of the preparations for that King and Queen and the intimate and powerful moments that formally prepared Jesus for his public life and ministry.

When Jesus transitions from a quiet life in private to a public life and ministry, the events leading up to it help us see the kind of king and Messiah Jesus was to become. I can’t help but notice the stark contrast between the drama and fanfare of the preparations for the English king and queen and the intimate and powerful moments that prepared Jesus for his public life and ministry.

In Matthew 3 and 4, we see the kind of preparations Jesus saw as fitting for the kind of kingdom He came to inaugurate. John knew his role was to prepare the way for Jesus’s ministry, but he did not expect to baptize Him. But in doing so, he witnessed the intimacy of the Father and the Spirit anointing the Son and announcing their delight in him (Matthew 3:17).

Jesus’s ministry demonstrated and declared the good news of the Kingdom in stunning fashion. His preaching was deeply controversial. His miraculous power over sickness and evil would cause news of Jesus to travel far and wide. Many who encountered him would receive him and follow him. But many more would reject him with hostility. These wilderness moments were to prepare Jesus for such varied responses that would ultimately lead both to his public execution as well as redemption of the world.

When his identity was spoken and affirmed by God, Jesus was taken into the next phase of his preparation in the wilderness. This time, He was alone with only the devil to test him. The devil questioned Jesus’s identity—“If you are the Son of God” (Matthew 4:6).

Wasn’t it enough that God had said it, did Jesus now have to prove it? The devil would not be the last to question Jesus’s identity. As Jesus clung to and feasted on the Word of God, He emerged from the wilderness and began to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.

As followers of Jesus, we, too, will experience seasons of preparation for the kingdom ministry God has called us to. After all, that is part of what it means to be a disciple. Perhaps today it is worth prayerfully considering how God may be preparing you now for what’s next. Are you in a wilderness season? If so, consider deliberately surrendering to the work of transformation the Lord is doing in your life.

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