October 23 – Jesus’ Early Work in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee


  • John 1:35-51; 2:1-25; 3:1-36; 4:1-54
  • Luke 3:19-20


Jesus gathered His first four apostles: Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael. Andrew had been one of John the Baptist’s disciples and had left John to follow Jesus. Andrew asked Jesus where He was staying, followed Him and spent the day with Him. Andrew went and found his brother Peter, told him that he had found the Messiah, and brought Peter to Jesus. The following day, as Jesus was about to leave for Galilee, He found Philip and told him to follow Him. Philip found Nathanael and told him that he’d found the One of whom Moses had written about in the Law and the prophets. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, Jesus told Nathanael how He had seen him under the fig tree before Philip called him. Hearing this, Nathanael believed Jesus was the Son of GOD.

The following day Jesus performed His first miracle. Jesus and His disciples were invited to a wedding feast and they ran out of wine. Mary, Jesus’ mother, told Jesus of the problem and, it seems, assumed that Jesus would fix it. Jesus had the servants fill up six stone water jars. Jesus turned the water in those jars into wine, and told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. The master of the banquet complemented the bridegroom for saving the best wine for last, the opposite of what was typically done. At this, the disciples placed their faith in Jesus.

As the Passover of 27 A.D. approached, Jesus went to Jerusalem. When He arrived at the temple, He saw men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and people sitting at tables exchanging money. This made Jesus furious, so He made a whip of cords and drove all of them out of the temple area, scattering the coins and overturning tables. Jesus said to them, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” The Jews demanded a sign of authority from Jesus for the ruckus He had caused. Jesus told them that when they destroy this temple He would raise it up in three days. They thought Jesus was speaking of the physical temple but Jesus was referring to His body and resurrection. After Jesus was raised from the dead, the disciples remembered these words and understood. Jesus also did other miracles there at the Passover Feast.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, approached Jesus secretly by night. Nicodemus confessed that only one approved of GOD could perform the signs Jesus was doing. Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of GOD one must be born again—born of the water and the Spirit. Nicodemus didn’t understand, thinking Jesus was speaking of an earthly physical birth, so Jesus explained it to him. It is during this conversation with Nicodemus that we find the most famous Bible verse:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 NIV)

After these things Jesus and his disciples went to the Judean countryside where the disciples baptized many. John was also baptizing there. The Pharisees learned that Jesus was baptizing and gaining more followers than John, so Jesus left there and returned to Galilee. On the way, Jesus passed through Samaria, where He stopped at Jacob’s well around noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus asked her for a drink. She was startled because the Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans; rather, Jews looked down on Samaritans. Jesus talked with the woman about living water and revealed who He was.

The Samaritan woman was so impressed by Jesus, after understanding He was the Messiah, that she went into the town and called everyone to come see for themselves. The town came out and heard Jesus and they urged Him to stay there with them, so He stayed two days, and many became believers because of His teachings.

When Jesus returned to Galilee, to Cana (the town where He turned the water to wine), He was well-received because the people had seen what Jesus had done in Jerusalem at the Passover. There was a royal officer who had a son who was dying and, hearing Jesus was in town, came and begged Jesus to go heal him. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe. You may go. Your son will live.” On the way home, the officer’s servants came to meet him and told him that they boy was well. When the man asked what time it was when the boy improved, they told him it was the exact moment Jesus had spoken the words to him.


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