Why did Jesus preach for such a short period of time?

Last week, I received several questions from a Resurrection member who had been using a DVD series to study as a part of a small group. I will take some time today and over the next few days to respond as I believe that there may be others who are interested as well. Always feel free to email me questions on topics about which you would like to see me write.

Are there any theories as to why Jesus preached for such a short period of time?  It seems so short in contrast to say Paul or the OT prophets…

This is a great question. I believe that there are two main reasons why Jesus’ public ministry lasted the length that it did. One at the beginning and one at the end. We read stories of Jesus birth in two of the gospels we find in the Bible. There is only one story of Jesus after his birth before he begins his public ministry. This story is found in Luke 2:41-52. This gives us little information about Jesus life from twelve years old until he is in his early 30s. According to Luke 2:51 (TNIV), “As Jesus grew up, he increased in wisdom and in favor with God and people.” Jesus seems to be growing or maturing in some way before the beginning of his public ministry.

Jesus first words in the gospel according to Mark, are these, “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15, TNIV). Jesus seems to recognize that there is a particular time for the beginning of his public ministry. In other places in the gospels, Jesus speaks about the right timing, or that his time has not yet come. Jesus seems to have a sense about the timing of his ministry and the beginning of his ministry fits into this timing.

Likewise at the end of his ministry, Jesus knows that he is going to Jerusalem to be put to death. The disciples that followed him throughout Galilee did not want or were not willing to believe the upcoming death. Jesus ministry eventually reached a place where he caused enough ruckus in society that he became a threat to the empire. Among other reasons, Jesus was put to death for threatening the status quo in many different ways.

This is the best that I have for today. I’m not sure it is the best possible answer, but think that there is something here.

What else would you add?

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2 thoughts on “Why did Jesus preach for such a short period of time?

  1. I would add that Jesus had both a message and a mission. His message was, like any good movement builder, simple, precise, and profound. Summed up it was, repent and join up with the Kingdom of God.

    The mission, of course was to redeem the world through his suffering and death, and through the blood atonement of his sacrifice as the paschal lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world. The mission required him to turn his face towards Jerusalem, and his prophetic action on the cross bids us all to come and die that we might live as citizens of the Kingdom. There is nothing quite as powerful as a message lived out to its full extent to motivate and empower us to live out our own calling. Equally important was his resurrection whereby he overcame death and set eternal life before us. So I would say the mission was co-equal in importance with the message thus the compressed time frame.

  2. Also the promise of the Spirit, He said He had to go away in order to send the Spirit. He told His guys “without the Spirit you can’t get much of what I’m talking about anyway.”

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