October 18, 2014

Perean Ministry

So he departed again across the Jordan to the place where John (the Baptist) first was baptizing, and He remained there. – John 10:40 (HCSB)

Three months until the Passover. Three months until Jesus would make a final entrance into Jerusalem. Three months until Jesus would face the agony of the cross. Just three months until his redemptive mission would be fulfilled. In the meanwhile, Jesus would continue to preach, teach, heal, and manage the conflict according to God’s timetable, not the agenda of those planning to kill him. 

It was because of this conflict that Jesus found it necessary to leave Jerusalem and Judea and travel east into Perea. In all likelihood, this is where Jesus had been baptized and initiated his public ministry some three years earlier. It was fitting that Jesus would return to this region where John the Baptist had helped “prepare the way for the Lord” (Matthew 3:3). Indeed, John’s Gospel tells us that during this ministry in Perea “many believed in Him there” (John 10:42).

The PEREAN MINISTRY began in Perea, but was not spent entirely in Perea. During this time he traveled to Bethany in Judea (John 11:18), spent some time in Ephraim, Judea (John 11:54), made a final trip into Galilee (Matthew 19:1), and visited Jericho (Luke 19:1). But regardless of where Jesus was during these three months, it’s clear that in his head and heart, Jesus was “making his way”, ultimately, to Jerusalem (Matthew 20:18; Luke 13:22, 17:11).

Each of the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) give significant attention to the Perean Ministry while John’s only reference to this period (other than noting his departure to Perea) is the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).

The record of Jesus’ ministry during this period is dominated by teachings and parables on a broad variety of subjects. (See Events in Perean Ministry.) Only four miracles are recorded.

Near the beginning and end of this period we are given four accounts that provide an interesting glimpse into the emotional side of Jesus. When told that Herod wanted to kill him, Jesus referred to Herod as “that fox” and then said, “Look! I’m driving out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete My work. Yet I must travel today, tomorrow, and the next day, because it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem!” It’s hard not to sense a degree of exasperation in his voice due to the constant threat that was hanging over him (Luke 13:31-33).

In that same context, Jesus cries over the beloved City of David, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! . . How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34.) Who could miss the intense divine longings for this city at the heart of God’s eternal redemptive plan?

When his disciples rebuked those wishing to bring “little children” to Jesus so he could touch them, we’re told that Jesus became “indignant” (Mark 10:14). It wasn’t the only time Jesus spoke up for the value of children to reveal his tender love for them.

Shortly before their arrival in Jerusalem, Jesus spoke with his disciples rather bluntly regarding his imminent crucifixion. There is an unmistakable urgency and passion in his voice when he calls for their attention. . . “Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem.” (Matthew 20:18.)

The Perean Ministry represents the close of Jesus’ itinerant ministry. His days are numbered. The clock is ticking. Soon he will be in Jerusalem to face the cross.

Related Articles

For a listing of all of the events recorded for this period, see Perean Ministry Events.

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