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How Jesus Did the Process of the Gospel: Observation - Seeing the Ministry of Jesus of Nazareth Unfold
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Doug Hall's picture

Coming on the scene in rural Galilee of the Gentiles, Jesus demonstrated a different way of doing ministry than the pompous religious leaders of his day. He related to people on a very intimate level because he was familiar with their everyday lives. After all, he had been observing them all his life!

Growing up in Nazareth in the first century, what kinds of things did Jesus see and experience as a young child, as a boy, a teenager, a young man? Did He remember the many tumultuous events that surrounded his birth? Were they part of the family “Remember when…” tales shared around the family table?

No doubt his life was busy with work, helping his mother and sisters carry the water jars to and from the well, and learning carpentry from watching his father. Imagine him at sheep shearing time, watching his mother card the wool that piled up in one corner of their small house, and his sisters spin it into yarn and weave it by hand. By watching his father and the other men, he learned farming techniques of preparing the soil, sowing the seed and bringing in the harvest. 

Imagine all that he observed as a young student from five to ten years of age at the synagogue: he studied the Old Testament in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic through memorization, drill and review. Twelve-year-old Jesus used the observation tool of inquiry - a common method of learning and discourse - when he stayed behind in Jerusalem after the Passover to ask questions of the teachers, who were “amazed at his understanding and his answers!” Picture in your mind the young Jesus watching the money changers in the temple, observing the long luxurious robes of the wealthy priests; we know he saw how they stood in stark contrast to the beggars sitting in rags by the Beautiful Gate. Jesus also noticed how the women of ill repute would wait until no one was using a village well before filling their water jars on his return journey to Nazareth. 

Continual observation and learning ensued as Jesus “grew in wisdom and in favor with God and people.” His observation powers were noticeably greater than others. John tells us that “he knew what was in each person.” He used this penetrating power of observation in his interactions with Nathanael and the other inquirers at his baptism. He knew the woman at the well of Samaria had five husbands, and sensed when the woman with the issue of blood touched him. It was no wonder that he saw people with pity, as “sheep without a shepherd.”  

 

 

 

 

Even with mature carpentry skills, Jesus seemed more comfortable with living beings like people and animals than with manmade items like stools and tables. He likened himself to things as basic as bread and as simple as water, as common as a vine or a good shepherd, giving new meaning to each one. In observing everything around him and learning from the scriptures that were so much a part of his culture, Jesus developed a deep self-awareness and a sense of his own purpose.    

     
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