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The Month of June in Jesus’ Ministry
The month of June evokes different associations and images around the world. In America, for example, June is a primary month for weddings. In Japan, it brings in the rainy season. June marks the beginning of winter in Australia. What about the month of June in the life and ministry of Jesus?
We will consider five different Junes in Jesus’ life in this blog, beginning with the one that preceded the beginning of his public ministry. Why was this June significant?
Jesus began his Messianic ministry in January of his 30th year. June of his 29th year was highly significant for our Lord because John the Immerser had just begun his preaching ministry in the Judean wilderness. This was the key development that Jesus had been waiting for his whole life. Once the promised prophet has begun to prepare God’s people with the message of repentance, the Lord knew that he would soon begin his own ministry. After 29 years of quiet waiting and preparation in utter obscurity, the Son of God was soon to be revealed to the world. Jesus’ heart sizzled with the anticipation of beginning to heal and save the needy people he saw all around him.
The following June found Jesus in the Judean wilderness, conducting his ministry by receiving the repentant seekers that John the Immerser sent his way, leading them to faith in himself as the Messiah, and discipling them in his Kingdom lifestyle. This was a fruitful season of personal evangelism for Jesus, in which he made and discipled more followers than even John the Immerser, but it would soon end. The Apostle John described that June like this:
22 After the Passover, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he was spending time with them and continuing to immerse.
23 Now, John also was immersing at Aenon near Salim because there was plenty of water, and people were still coming to him and being immersed. 24 [This was before John was put in prison.]
4.1 Now, Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and immersing more disciples than John was, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who immersed, but his disciples who did so. (John 3.22-24, 4.1-2; DJN #041)
The next June was another game-changer for Jesus. After appointing the Twelve Apostles and delivering his epic “Teaching on the Mount” in May, Jesus departed on his second systematic tour of every town and village in Galilee, with his new apostles and many others in tow. It would take him six months to cover the roughly 25 towns of Galilee. Very quickly, probably during June, Jesus was confronted with the public rejection of the Pharisees in a dramatic way. After watching him perform a miracle (his twelfth specific miracle so far in the gospels) of exorcism and healing, they accused him of being a Satanist–possessed by the Devil himself! (MT 12.22-37; MK 3.22-30; DJN #088) The Pharisees also determined to kill him at the same time.
With this kind of vitriolic hatred and resistance facing him within every crowd he addressed, Jesus introduced parables into his ministry as a means to continue to communicate with the Pharisees and others like them who were rejecting his message before they heard it. (See DAILY JESUS NEWS posting #092 for more discussion of the role of parables in Jesus’ speaking ministry.) So, Jesus’ parables began in that second June of hisministry years.
In Jesus’ third June of his ministry he had withdrawn from Jewish territory, choosing to sojourn in the Gentile regions to the North, East, and Southeast of Galilee. (Jesus “withdrew” from April through August of his final year.) Thirteen events from these months are recorded in the gospels. We do not know specifically which events occurred in June, but there is a reasonable chance that the “Great Confession” of Peter (and the rest of the Apostles) near Caesarea Philippi was one of them.
What we do know for sure is that Jesus chose to spend June (and the rest of the withdrawal period) in fellowship, prayer, and in-depth discipleship training with his disciples. The Twelve had just returned from their first public ministry assignment during Jesus’ third and final tour of Galilee prior to the Withdrawal. They needed this time of debriefing. Then, Jesus planned to send out 70 more workers into the towns and villages of Judea and Perea after his withdrawal ended. The kind of training that Jesus was giving his key workers during this particular month of June was therefore crucial to what lay behind, and ahead of his disciples.
The final month of June we will consider in this article occurred after Jesus’ ascension back to the right hand of the Father. He was firmly established in his eternal ministry as our Prophet, High Priest, and King of Kings, and actively working on earth through his body, the Church, though his Spirit and Word. During this June Jesus was empowering the Apostles and believers in Jerusalem through his Spirit with astounding miracles and effectiveness in witness to his saving work. You can read about those glorious days in Acts 2.41-47. Luke concluded his description of those days with the statement that every day Jesus continued to add the new believers that he had saved to the fellowship of his Church. He has continued that same work every day and month of every year since.
We can see that June was an important month in the life and ministry of Jesus. His early ministry of personal evangelism and discipleship in Judea, his introduction of the parables that still teach and enlighten us today, his in-depth discipleship training in his season of withdrawal, and his eternal, heavenly ministry that empowers and guides his body on earth until the end of this age are crucial aspects of who Jesus is and what he does in every believer, Church, and day/month of this age. Jesus rocked the month of June!
How we praise and exalt you, Lord, for the glory of what you said and did in your earthly ministry in June, and what you say and do in the same way today! You are glorious and worthy of our love and adoration for all of these things.