Luke 4:16-21 NIV

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

John 2:11 NIV

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Mark 1:14-15 NIV

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Matthew 4 cites the same context as the initiation of Jesus' public ministry.

We see that Luke presents a perfect starting point for the public ministry of Jesus in Nazareth. John, however, appears to say that Jesus started his ministry with the miracle at Cana. Matthew and Mark on their part, present an event in Galilee by which Jesus started his public life.

Exactly when did Jesus launch his public ministry?

  • Thanks, agarza, for meaningfully editing and formatting the question. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 6:58

2 Answers 2


OP: Exactly when did Jesus launch his public ministry?

Although Jesus Christ did not operate as a priest under the Mosaic Law, He still began His public ministry about the age of 30 at His baptism.

Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Lk 3:21-23

Jesus also followed protocol in that He did not anoint Himself into the ministry.

And Jesus answering said unto him [John the baptist], Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Mt 3:15

This baptism began Christ's public ministry.

Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. Lk 3:21-22

As for the wedding in Cana, it happened on the third day after temptation.

The next day [after John the Baptist was questioned about who he was] John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Jn 1:29

At this point right after Christ's baptism, the Synoptics say Christ was tempted for 40 days. In John's gospel, this period is not mentioned. Instead, Jesus begins getting disciples. The discrepancy is solved by the word "again". But to finish the sequence.

Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; John 1:35

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. John 1:43

On the third day, Jesus goes to Cana.

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: John 2:1

On that third day after the 40 days of temptation, but counting from Jesus' first disciples.

As mentioned, the word "again" is "palin" that may indicate one in a sequence, but also in this manner.


the regular word for "again," is used chiefly in two senses,

(a) with reference to repeated action;

(b) rhetorically, in the sense of "moreover" or "further," indicating a statement to be added in the course of an argument, e.g., Mat 5:33; or with the meaning "on the other hand, in turn," Luk 6:43; 1Cr 12:21; 2Cr 10:7; 1Jo 2:8. In Hbr 1:5 palin simply introduces an additional quotation; in Hbr 1:6 this is not so. There the RV rightly puts the word "again" in connection with "He bringeth in the firstborn into the world," "When He again bringeth, etc." That is to say, palin is here set in contrast to the time when God first brought His Son into the world. This statement, then, refers to the future second advent of Christ. The word is used far more frequently in the Gospel of John than in any other book in the New Testament. Vines

The reference to Christ quoting Isaiah in the synagogue follows the same sequence of baptism, 40 days of temptation, return to pick disciples, going to Cana, and then teaching in the synagogues.

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. Luke 4:14

His fame was spreading already before Luke 4:16-21.

So, to answer the OP, Christ began His public ministry at His baptism by John the baptist and God speaking thereat.


Luke's gospel is helpful. Chapter 3 describes Jesus' baptism in the River Jordan then says (in verse 23):

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.

There follows (in chapter 4) the temptation of Jesus by the devil after he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. After that:

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

One of the synagogues he visited was in Nazareth, but he taught in many others.

The first miracle he performed was at the wedding in Cana, but that doesn't mean it was the start of his public ministry. It was a private, family event.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John highlight different aspects of his ministry but I don't recall any of the gospels trying to categorically pin down the start to a specific time, place or event. They simply record various memorable events and places Jesus went to.

All we need to know is that Jesus' public ministry started after his baptism and after the 40 days he spent in the wilderness and that he was about 30 years of age. None of the synoptic gospels disagree with that.

Why should it matter when or where the "official" start of Jesus' ministry was?

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