Jesus’ Ministry in Israel

Old Jerusalem via Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

by Avery Foley on April 17, 2018
Map of Israel

Map of Israel. Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem before Jesus was born. Click map for larger image.

Jesus was born and spent most of his life in the land of Israel. He was born in a small town called Bethlehem and was laid in a manger (Luke 2:4–7). This fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy that said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

He grew up in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23), another small town. No one expected the Messiah to come from Nazareth since many people didn’t really like that place (John 1:43–46).

When Jesus began his public ministry of teaching and healing the sick, he travelled throughout Israel, visiting many different places. One of the places he visited was the Sea of Galilee.

It was here that Jesus walked on water (Matthew 14:22–33) and calmed the storm (Mark 4:35–41). It was beside the Sea of Galilee that Jesus fed the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13–21).

Sea of Galilee from Tiberias

By Tiberias municipality, via Wikimedia Commons

Modern-day view of the Sea of Galilee from the city of Tiberias.

Jesus also visited the town of Bethany, which is near the Jordan River. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River (John 1:19–28), and Bethany is where he raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11).

Jerusalem was the city where the Israelite temple was located. Jesus visited this temple several times throughout his life (e.g. Luke 2:41–50; Matthew 21:12–13). The week before his death, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey as people waved palm branches and praised God (Matthew 21:1–11). This fulfilled another Old Testament prophecy (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:5). Jesus was sentenced to death in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:26) and he was crucified outside the city (Matthew 27:32–44).

Outside Jerusalem there was a garden where people were buried in tombs. Jesus was buried and came back to life in one of these tombs (Matthew 27:57–61, 28:1–8), though no one is sure which tomb it was.