Immediate Impact: Unsolicited fame finds Jesus

Verse: Mark 1

Mark 1:28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Although the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all cover basically the same ground, each one looks at Jesus’ life from a unique angle. For example, Matthew and Luke begin with historical background, taking pains to verify Jesus’ Old Testament connections. Mark plunges right in to report on Jesus’ actions.

After John the Baptist fans enthusiasm for Jesus—so much enthusiasm, in fact, that John lands in jail—Jesus openly announces his ministry. He has some surprises in store for the eager audience. For one thing, Jesus goes, not to Jerusalem, the natural center of activity for any aspiring leader, but to small towns in the hill country of Galilee.

New Style of Prophet

Jesus has spent his childhood in Galilee, in the obscure town of Nazareth, which leads some sophisticates to scoff, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46). Except for festival times when he travels to Jerusalem, Jesus shows a marked preference for small towns and rural areas, especially in the remote northern region of Galilee.

In other ways, too, Jesus does not fit the expected image of a prophet. His cousin John personifies the severe ascetic image: He lives in a desert, eats insects and preaches a harsh message of judgment. But Jesus lives in the midst of people, dines in their homes and brings a message of “the good news of God.”

Although Jesus may not be a conventional leader, as soon as he begins healing people, his reputation swells overnight. News of his miraculous power spreads, even when he tries to hush it up. The word about an amazing, unconventional kind of prophet gets out.

Life Questions

Considering what you have read about Jesus so far, what characteristic about him surprises you most?

This devotion is from the NIV Student Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.