Until this time Jesus was devoted to meeting the physical needs of His siblings and mother because His father evidently had passed away. Now He was to bring spiritual food to His people and to the whole world.
His ministry began with the announcement by John the Baptist that He is the “Lamb of God.” As previously stated, it was the custom that when a king was going to visit his people, he would send a herald to announce to the cities and villages that their king was coming. Likewise, John the Baptist was the herald who announced to the Jews that their “king” was coming. However, rather than referring to Jesus as a “king,” he referred to Him as the “Lamb of God.” The word “king” or “messiah” would have started a riot or revolt in this politically-charged land. Yet the people understood the term to mean the long expected messiah. For centuries, ever since 586 B.C., the Jews had been under foreign domination with the exception of about one hundred years of independence (163/142-63 B.C.). But that so-called “freedom” was a miserable life under their corrupt leaders. Now they were under Roman authority and, while they had some religious liberties, life in general was very difficult.
As a sage or rabbi, John acquired several disciples whom he instructed. His Elijah imagery captured everyone’s attention, especially with the message of repentance, baptism, and living a pure and holy lifestyle. His image was significantly different than the priestly heritage from which he came that included some comforts of wealth. Yet John’s message was one that the temple priests failed to announce.
. The demise of Joseph is one of the mysteries of the Bible. However, since Jesus was the oldest son, it was his responsibility to care for his parents in their old age and to bury them when they passed on. We know that He had at least four brothers: James, Joses, Judas (Jude), and Simon, and several sisters who were not named.
. John the Baptist is not called a “rabbi” or a “sage” anywhere in Scripture or in extra-biblical writings. However, the mere fact he had disciples is indicative that he functioned as a sage or rabbi.
. A rabbi-disciple relationship was always a teacher-student relationship.