Yeshua’s Boot Camp Experience—Precursor to His Launch into Ministry

Mark 1–3

As believers in and disciples and imitators of Yeshua, we endeavor to follow the example of how he lived. This isn’t easy to do, for Yeshua experienced much that we as normal humans who prefer the comfort zones of our existence would rather not go through.

Yet, we must all face the stark reality: There is no gain where there is no pain. Every body-builder and athlete knows this. That means to be like Yeshua we will have to endure and overcome trials, suffering, resistance, hardships, persecution and growth pains. This is part of growing up spiritually.

The great thing is that Yeshua is there to help us along the journey with the help of his word and example. He also didn’t leave us comfortless—without the Helper of his Set-Apart Spirit to guide, strengthen and succor us along the way.

It is interesting to note the order of events as Yeshua was launching his ministry. He was about to enter a war zone! After John baptized Yeshua and he received his heavenly empowerment (Mark 1:9–11), he first went through a spiritual boot camp before stepping onto the battlefield of public ministry. Once in the “war,” it’s worth noting where the battle lines fell. 

Now let’s take a look at what Yeshua had to go through to prepare him to be all that the Father wanted him to be, so that he could be a river of life to the world. This is an example for us to follow.

  • Yeshua’s spiritual boot camp was the wilderness where he fasted for forty days and nights to get his body, soul and spirit, and his mind, will and emotions in sync with the will of his Father in heaven (Mark 1:12–15).
  • His first battle was an internal one. The devil tested him in three areas: his body, soul and spirit, or, to put it another way, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (Mark 1:13). After overcoming himself and submitting to the will of his Father, he was now ready to launch into the war zone of public ministry. 
  • His mission was to preach the message of the gospel of the kingdom of Elohim and repentance from sin (i.e. Torahlessness, 1 John 3:4; Mark 1:14–15).
  • Next he chose his cadre of spiritual warriors — his “army”— the twelve disciples (Mark 1:16–20).
  • Where better to start proclaiming the gospel message than in the local synagogue on the Sabbath (Mark 1:21)? After all, the religious folks there should have been overjoyed to hear this good news, fresh message from heaven. 
  • Yeshua started his ministry by reaching out to those immediately around him in the local synagogue in Capernaum (Mark 1:21).
  • His first recorded act, other than preaching, was to cast an unclean spirit out of someone in the local synagogue (Mark 1:21–28). Interesting. He didn’t have to go to the First Church of Satan, a witches coven, a Hindu temple, or a mosque to do this. The demons were right there in the local church!
  • Next, Yeshua brought miraculous physical healing to those around him starting with Peter’s mother-in-law (verses 30–31) and then going out to others from there (Mark 1:32–34). The exorcism and physical healing opened the doors for him to begin ministering to those in that city and eventually beyond to other synagogues throughout the Galilee region (verse 39). He preached the gospel, and signs and wonders followed as the kingdom of Elohim was expanded at the devil’s expense.
  • He continued preaching and, with compassion, healed the sick and oppressed. His ministry spread to the surrounding areas as he ministered to people at their point of need with the powerful gospel message (Mark 1:40–2:12).
  • It wasn’t long before Yeshua aroused the attention of the religious leaders with his controversial ministry methods that ran cross-grain to the religious establishment status quo (Mark 2:6). The scribes began to question him about his healing methods and his spiritual authority. They seemed more occupied with issues relating to religious rituals and protocols than the fact that a paralyzed man had been healed. This happens today among religious people who would rather argue more about words, doctrine, religious formulas, while they miss the whole heart and spirit of spiritual issues. Yeshua called it straining at gnats and swallowing camels.
  • Next the scribes and Pharisees questioned Yeshua’s associations. He didn’t fit their criteria as to how a Jewish spiritual teacher should act or with whom he should associate (Mark 2:15–17). As you are retuning to the Hebraic roots of your faith, how often have you heard the term “cult,” “Judaizer,” “legalist” or some such derisive term lobbed at you from so called Christians?
  • After this, the Pharisees butted heads with Yeshua over his non-ascetic lifestyle. They didn’t like the fact that he didn’t fast as often as John the Baptist (Mark 2:18–22). Again, arguing over religious protocols. One often hears, “Our denomination or church doesn’t do it that way!” How about what the Bible says?
  • Then the Pharisees criticized Yeshua for not observing the Sabbath according to their extra-biblical religious criteria (Mark 2:23–28). Again, its the old routine: “That’s not in accordance with what our church, denomination or the ‘historic Christian church’ teaches.” It’s the same old rhetoric. Same line, different cast of characters.
  • Finally, several of these controversial issues converged when the Pharisees questioned Yeshua in a synagogue on the Sabbath as to whether it was legal to perform a miraculous healing on that day or not (Mark 3:1–6). When push comes to shove, they always bring out the big guns of the supposed scholars who love to proffer their expert theological opinions. Usually it’s the traditions of men versus the Word of Elohim.
  • Because the religious establishment viewed Yeshua as a threatening anomaly, they begin plotting how to destroy him (Mark 3:6). Their first aggressive act against him was false accusation, and smearing him publicly by accusing him of exorcizing a lower demon through a higher and more powerful demon (Mark 3:22). The Torah prescribes the death penalty for this (Deut 13:5; 18:20). It appears that the scribes (the legal experts) from Jerusalem were coming to apprehend Yeshua for this alleged crime. His family seeing that he was at risk of being arrested, sought to take him into protective custody before the scribes could seize him. Even his own family and friends, though concerned for his well-being, thought “he was out of his mind” (Mark 3:21). Nowadays, people can’t express their hatred and disdain through physical acts of violence or murder, so they use their mouths to murder through hate speech, slander and accusation. Same old shtick! The enemies ways haven’t changed over the millennia.
  • From time to time, Yeshua had to withdraw from the battle zone for some spiritual rest and recuperation (Mark 1:35; 3:7, 13 cp. 1:45; 2:13). Even such a stalwart as Yeshua needed downtime occasionally to recharge his spiritual batteries. YHVH has given his end time servants the weekly Sabbath and biblical feasts as times to recharge one’s spiritual batteries by being with him and other like-minded believers. These are regular times YHVH has provided his servants to be able to rest and regroup spiritually in face of the onslaught of attacks by demonically inspired religious enemies. If one isn’t encountering such resistance, then one probably isn’t even in the battle! If so, this is the place of the unprofitable servant in Yeshua’s eyes.

Though Yeshua was the Son of Elohim and was endued with vast spiritual power, being in the ministry wasn’t easy even for him! He had to pass numerous tests, overcome imposing obstacles and opposition of all kind (even, at times, from family and friends), endure false accusations, betrayal, mocking and scorning and even flee for his life at times. His authority was questioned, he came under fire for his unconventional healing methods, his non-religious lifestyle, his questionable associations, and his controversial theology that didn’t line up with the traditions of his day. But his steadfastness to his mission was firmly established in his forty day testing period in the wilderness. There, like an immovable rock, he resolved to be faithful to his Father in heaven regardless of the attacks by the world, the flesh and the devil that were about to assail him with full force.

Should his disciples today expect anything less—unless they’re not even in the war?


Have you been called into the ministry? Here are you marching order…

Matthew 10:5–42, Yeshua sent out. The Commissioning of the Twelve Disciples.

Do you have a ministry call on your life? If you’re a disciple of Yeshua, then you should. Yeshua has commissioned every saint to help fulfill the great commission to spread the gospel to the world. Below are some basic guidelines on how to know that you’re in the perfect will of Elohim for the ministry to which he has called you.

There are several steps one must go through when receiving a ministry commission from Yeshua. The following steps are based on Yeshua’s commissioning his disciples in Matthew 10. As modern-day disciples of Yeshua, we need to take these into consideration when assuming a ministry role. These are the requirements of his laborers who will work in his harvest field (see Matt 9:37 for context).

  • Yeshua calls one into the ministry (Matt 10:1). Some people go into the ministry as a career like they would any other job by their own choice. This is unbiblical. Involvement in Yeshua’s ministry is by his invitation only. 
  • After calling one into the ministry, there is a time of training. This is the biblical norm. For some, it was five years (e.g. the Levites), or forty years (Moses and Joshua). David had a period of training before becoming king, as did Paul the apostle and Elisha. For Yeshua’s disciples, it was three-and-one-half years. The Matthew ten account is part of the disciples’ training program.
  • After calling them, Yeshua then gave his disciples their marching orders by telling them where to go and not to go (Matt 10:5–6). They were to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, although, later on Yeshua instructed them to go the Gentiles. Paul even taught in several places that the lost sheep of Israel were to be found among the Gentiles, as the ancient biblical prophets predicted they would be.
  • Yeshua then instructed them what their ministry was to be (Matt 10:7–8). They were to do exactly as Yeshua himself did: preach the gospel of repentance and the kingdom of Elohim, and to heal the sick.
  • He then gave them instructions pertaining to travel arrangements—what they were to take on their journey, where they were to stay, and how to act when encountering resistance (Matt 10:9–15). This included lodging, food and financial remuneration. On the latter point, today many itinerant evangelists flagrantly violate Yeshua’s strictures in this regard and have become nothing more than travelling salesmen and peddlers always with their hands out for financial gain. They have simply become merchandisers of the gospel, sadly.
  • Next, Yeshua warned his disciples against persecution (Matt 10:16–26). He assumed that persecution would be a natural result of preaching the gospel. Conversely, it could be assumed that something is out of spiritual order when one preaches the gospel and persecution doesn’t occur. 
  • Yeshua then instructed his disciples about fear—who to fear and not to fear. They were to fear YHVH, not men (Matt 10:27–31). This is an important point, since preaching the gospel to the lost can be intimidating, which is why so few do it. Yeshua promises divine protection for his disciples who preach the gospel as he has instructed (Matt 10:29–30).
  • The workman is worthy of his hire. Yeshua promises spiritual rewards to those who preach the gospel (Matt 10:32–33).
  • For those who are called into Yeshua’s ministry, he demands total commitment. One must put Yeshua first above all other human relationships. For this, expect rejection from family and friends (Matt 10:34–39). 
  • Again, Yeshua holds out the promise of spiritual rewards for those who heed his call to become a disciple who works in his spiritual harvest field (Matt 10:39 cp. Matt 9:37).

Legitimate Vs. Illegitimate Ministry

Christian Ministry

Numbers 17:1–13, Aaron’s rod. Aaron’s rod that budded is a picture of what? Who was the rod or Branch from the stem of Jesse that budded forth with spiritual life for all those who will place their faith in him? Spiritual life for you and me came from what dead tree? Can we not see that Yeshua and the message of the gospel is at the center of everything in the Bible from the beginning to the end? Can there be any doubt that Yeshua is the Messiah? Only he fulfilled all the prophetic types and shadows that we find in the Tanakh (Old Testament).

Aaron’s ministry was anointed of YHVH. The rod represented his authority and its budding represented the fruitfulness of his ministry. It symbolically pointed to the ministry of Yeshua. If we are disciples and imitators of Yeshua, aren’t we to be doing what Yeshua did, that is, bearing good spiritual fruit as he did? 

Is your ministry anointed of YHVH? What are the spiritual fruits being born from it? Are people’s lives being changed for the good because of your spiritual example? Or, on the other hand, are you living in delusion due to the fact that your ministry, to one degree or another, is focused on yourself in that you think that you are called and anointed of YHVH, when in reality you have arrogantly appointed and promoted yourself like the rebels who challenged Aaron? 

If we are to be pleasing to YHVH, we must periodically ask ourselves these hard questions and stay accountable before YHVH to ensure that we’re still walking on his straight and narrow path of righteousness.

To ensure that we don’t get side-tracked and start going down the path of self-adulation and aggrandizement, consider the following.

Numbers 17:13, Whoever comes near the tabernacle of YHVH must die.YHVH doesn’t allow sinful and rebellious man to come near his Presence. After the Israelites had rebelled against YHVH multiple times, the fear of YHVH,which they were lacking, had to be re-established. Here YHVH is teaching the Israelites these important lessons by establishing boundaries around the tabernacle.

When men have a proper fear and respect for YHVH Elohim and his human structures of authority, they are less likely to step out of line and sin against Elohim and against their fellow man. There must be a separation between YHVH’s Presence and man. That separation must be maintained and enforced to keep men in line spiritually and knowing their place before the Almighty.

On the fear of YHVH Elohim, review the following scriptures: Deuteronomy 10:12; Psalms 2:11; 33:8; 34:7; 96:4,9; 111;10; 2 Corinthians 5:11; 7:1; Hebrews 12:28.

On the transcendence of YHVH Elohim, review the following scriptures: 1 Chronicles 29:11–12; Psalms 89:6; 96:4–5; 97:9; 135:5; Isaiah 40:12–28; Ephesians 1:21; 4:6.

The bottom line here is this: Keep your eyes on Yeshua and the cross, not on yourself, and what’s in it for you, and stay in the fear of Elohim, and you and your ministry will be anointed and bear good fruit for the kingdom of Elohim.