Thursday, November 18, 2021
Teaching and Healing
12-17 When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulun and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah’s revelation:
Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
road to the sea, over Jordan,
Galilee, crossroads for the nations.
People sitting out their lives in the dark
saw a huge light;
Sitting in that dark, dark country of death,
they watched the sun come up.
This Isaiah-prophesied revelation came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
-Matthew 4:12-17 The Message
Jesus Begins His Ministry
Verse 12: Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee;
Verse 13: and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.
Verses 12-13 studies: Jesus moved to Capernaum, which is about 20 miles north. Capernaum became Jesus’ home base during his ministry in Galilee. There could be some reasons why Jesus moved:
- To get away from intense opposition in Nazareth.
- To have the greatest impact on the most significant number of people.
- To utilize extra resources and support for his ministry.
Jesus’ movement fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2, which says that the Messiah will be a light to the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, the region of Galilee where Capernaum was located. Zebulun and Naphtali were the two original 12 tribes of Israel.
Verse 14: This happened so that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled:
Verse 15: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By way of the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
Verse 16: The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them, a Light dawned.”
Verses 14-16 studies: Quoting the book of Isaiah, Matthew continues to tie Jesus’ ministry to the Old Testament. It’s helpful to the Jewish readers, who were familiar with these Scriptures. It also shows the unity of God’s purpose as he works with his people throughout all ages.
Verse 17: From that time, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Verse 17 study: Kingdom of heaven is the same as the kingdom of God in Mark and Luke. Matthew uses the phrase because of the Jews, for their respect to not pronounce God’s name. The kingdom of heaven is still near because it has arrived in our hearts.
Jesus started his ministry with the word people consistently heard John the Baptist say, “Repent.” It is the same message today as Jesus and John gave it. Being a follower of Christ means turning away from our self-centeredness and “self” control and turning those control and start in the direction Christ directs our lives to.
Father, I pray today for the ministries you start everyone on. I pray blessings on it. So many people may not realize that they have been called to start a ministry but don’t recognize it yet. I pray that we will see your signals for when it is time. In Jesus’ name. Amen!