12. And immediately, the pulsating force of this same Holy Spirit from within virtually forced Him out into the wild...driving Him to go to a desert place, both physically and spiritually, where He could experience complete and total solitude.
13. And for forty days and nights He was out there alone, being tested in His thoughts by the Adversary...exposed to the elements and the wild beasts. But, during the entire trial period, angels took care of him.
14. Now after John was arrested and put in prison for confronting Herod about his adulterous relationship, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God,
15. Saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is here now...as accessible and close to you as your own hand! Change your mind...rethink everything...and believe completely in a message of good news...the good news of the Gospel!"
16. One day, as He was walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew skillfully fishing with nets. Their expertise made it obvious that they were professional fishermen.
17. And Jesus, taken by their command of the art of fishing, said to them, "Hey...let me cast this vision to you...come with Me and be My disciples, and I will make a new kind of fisherman out of you! I'll show you how to catch people for the Kingdom of God, using the same methods and ability that you currently have at your hand."
18. And the persuasiveness of His words, the presentation of this concept, and the perfection of the timing of it all caused them to drop what they were doing right then and there, and start following Him, no questions asked.
19. He then went on just a little farther down the beach and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were in their boat putting their nets in order and mending them.
20. And, being equally impressed by how diligent and detailed these young men were in their work, He called out to them, making the same offer. And, as the other men had done, they abandoned what they were doing, leaving their father Zebedee, the boat, and the hired hands, and followed Him.
21. Their first destination together was Capernaum, and the Sabbath came while they were there, so Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.
22. The people who came that day were amazed at His manner and delivery, because He taught them as One who had authority...as One who made a real connection with the Scriptures, and who understood the purpose and intent of the Law within the context of the big picture. This was remarkable to those who regularly attended, because the men who typically spoke there sounded nothing like this.
23. As Jesus was delivering His message, a man in the synagogue who was under the control of a rebel spirit began to cry out,
24. "What do you want from us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to terminate our tenure, and to put an end to our rule so that You can set up Your Kingdom? I know who You are...You are the Holy One of God!"
25 "That's enough! Stop being so loud and obnoxious...and stop interrupting My teaching session!" said Jesus sternly. "In fact, I want you to come out of him right now!"
26. And the spirit was reluctantly obedient to Jesus' authority, shaking the man violently, and coming out of him with a shriek.
27. Well, this encounter just amazed the people that much more, and they asked each other, "What is this all about? Not only does He teach with fresh revelation, He does so with complete confidence! And He openly converses with those from the spirit world, even giving them orders...and they recognize and confess His lordship over them, and bow their knees to Him!"
28. And it goes without saying that the news about Him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
29. As soon as they left the synagogue that day, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew.
30. Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her.
31. So He very matter-of-factly went to her, took her by the hand, and just helped her up. And with this simple gesture, the fever left her, and she immediately felt so much better that she insisted on making dinner for all of them, and on serving it herself.
32. That evening after dinner, many local people who had received word that He was in the neighborhood brought to Jesus those who were sick and/or were under the influence of a rebel spirit.
33. Eventually it seemed as though the whole town had gathered at the door of His hostess' home,
34. And Jesus went right into healing mode, curing many who had various diseases. He also expelled many rebel spirits, but He wouldn't permit them to say anything, because they knew too much. They recognized who He was, immediately, and so He wouldn't allow them to publicly say things about Him that He, Himself, wasn't ready to say.
35. And, even though this went on for several hours, very late into the night, He was up before the first light of dawn. He left the house and went off to a solitary place where He could pray.
36. Simon and his companions got up a little while later and went out to look for Him,
37. And when they finally found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is already looking for you this morning!"
38. Jesus replied, "Then let's go somewhere else...to all the nearby villages...I need to preach in each of them also, because that's why I have come into this physical dimension."
39. So they began to travel throughout Galilee, and He preached in their synagogues, and dismissed any rebel spirits that He encountered from their respective assignments.
40. In one of the villages a man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, "If You are willing, You can make me clean."
41. Jesus was indignant. "What do you mean 'If I am willing'? I am always willing!" But to show that He was also able, He reached out His hand to the man and simply said, "Be clean!"
42. And immediately the leprosy left him, and his diseased skin was completely cleansed.
43. But Jesus sent him away with a strong warning.
44. He said, "Look...I really don't want you to tell anyone about this. Just go and discreetly show yourself to the priest, and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them."
45. But the man did just the opposite...the rebel spirits in the area did exactly as they were told, but the local people usually did not. The man went out and began to talk freely to everyone he met about his miracle, spreading the news everywhere. And, as a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly because the crowds were becoming uncontrollable. From that time on He had to stay outside in lonely places. And even then the people still found Him, and came to Him from everywhere.