Matthew 4 Pt 2
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
We are witnessing a transition of ministry from John the Baptist to Christ. Here we find the event where John has been arrested by Herod Antipas for condemning the king’s marriage to his wife, Herodias, as illegal, because she had previously been married to his own brother, Philip.
Why did Christ have to wait for John to be arrested to start His earthly ministry?
Christ had been ministering in the background, but retreats back into Galilee and settled in Capernaum (not to flee from Herod) to prepare for the ministry God had planned for Him. This was the time God had prepared for the start of Jesus ministry. A time where there would be no competition between Christ and John’s ministries. John was sent to prepare the way, but had to step OUT of the way for the ministry of Jesus to start. God had prepared Galilee down through history for the coming of His Son’s ministry. Throughout history Galilee had been invaded and repopulated again and again with different people and cultures from all over the world. Over the years such an influx of differing people had created an atmosphere susceptible to new personalities and ideas.Galilee was strategically located. The world’s leading roads passed right through its borders. Merchants from all over the world passed through, boarding in its cities.Galilee was heavily populated. It was also surrounded by the Samaritans, Phoenicians, and Syrians making it an open door for world evangelization. It was one of the most fertile lands in that part of the world. This fact, plus the travelling trade, led numbers to settle within its borders. There were within the district over two hundred cities with a population of fifteen thousand or more (Josephus. Quoted by William Barclay. The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, p. 66). There were multitudes for Jesus to reach.Galilee was open to new and fresh ideas. Its people, having come from all over the world, were liberal minded, always looking for new and fresh ideas to stimulate and challenge their thinking. It was for these reasons that Christ chose Galilee to begin His ministry. The area was an open door for people to spread the news that the Messiah had come and the Kingdom of Heaven was being ushered in.
What was the purpose of all of this happening?
So that Isaiah’s prophecy could be fulfilled. Jesus chose to fulfill Scripture. If this is not a picture of how we should approach scripture I don’t know what is. Jesus CHOSE to fulfill what God had commanded in His Holy Scripture. Without question, without hesitation, and without fail.
The purpose in scripture was simply to bring the light of the Gospel into a dark, sinful world. “the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
Remember, Capernaum was a melting pot of people, different races, different cultures, different religions. It was the prime area for ministry, and Christ accepted the area and the people God had called Him to the ministry in. Christ’s mission, was lost people. Throughout scripture, we find that Christ went into needy lands, took those people from darkness and showed them light, taking them from death and gave them life. Isn’t this the same mission we have been given as believers? To take the gospel message into a lost world so others might be saved?
What is repentance?
“From that time on” the message of John now becomes the message of Christ. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (near) Why was their message similar? Because the message came from the same person who sent them - God. What is repentance? Turning away from sin and turning to God. Repentance is not just guilt, and finding a way to get out of a guilty feeling. Ever been caught doing something you should not do? You feel guilt, or remorse. Ever waited until your parents were gone, just to try it again? This is not repentance. This is remorse for getting caught.
Repentance changes both the mind (mindset, how we think, act, etc) and the actions - turning away from sin (in thought or action). Why did Christ preach this? Because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The Kingdom of Heaven evidently means the same thing as the Kingdom of God, eternal life, and salvation. There is the spiritual kingdom that is at hand; it is present right now, and the Gospel has to be spread with urgency.
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Christ, while God in the flesh, was man and could only do so much on His own. He calls others to minister, on His behalf, so that His ministry could be taken to more people, spread across the area, and more lives could be changed. He also called His first Disciples so that the ministry would carry on after His death.
What kind of person does Christ call?
This passage shows that Christ calls ordinary people who will simply make themselves available to Him.
The first group of men Jesus called were fishermen, brothers involved in the family business. They left their boats and nets immediately and followed Jesus. The second group of men called were also brothers, in the family business of fishing. As they were repairing their nets, Jesus told them to follow Him. Scripture says they immediately left their nets, boats, and father behind and followed Christ.
Notice the family - there was a brotherly spirit, literally, and we too are called to serve alongside brothers and sisters in Christ.
These families were working alongside each other, showing both families and those willing to work are needed to spread the Gospel.
They had been raised well, trained in the way they should go.
And one of the most important traits they had was simply, they were hard workers. They were working when Christ called them, they were working while Christ was with them, and they worked at spreading the Gospel after Christ had ascended into heaven.
First, position and power, wealth and security, religion and learning can hurt and keep a person away from God. Such things can make a person so self-confident and assured that he becomes useless to God. God is unable to work His power through him. The man’s own abilities and energy block God’s gifts and power from flowing through him.
Too many Christians are inactive and sitting, and wonder why they miss out on God’s opportunities, or why He isn’t responding to their prayers.
Second, God can use and call anyone who is really available, whether religious or nonreligious, learned or unlearned, ordinary or extraordinary. The main ingredient is to be available and willing to respond.
What is our mission?
We are simply called too. But it is up to us to follow and become fishers of men.
23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
What is significant about the area in which Jesus ministered?
Three things can be said about where Jesus ministered. He went throughout the whole area which He had set out to reach, the area (so to speak) which had been assigned to Him. Once committed to an area, He was responsible and faithful to it. (What a lesson for believers on commitment, assignments, and responsibilities.)
He went where there was a ready audience.
He went where people would receive and hear Him, that is, in the synagogue.
He went where teaching and preaching were expected, in the synagogue. (He did not teach exclusively in the synagogue, but it was one of the primary places of His ministry.)
The synagogue was the most important institution in the life of a Jew. It was the center of worship for the Jew, yet it was also the center of learning and education. Services and discussions were conducted daily in most synagogues. Wherever Jews were scattered over the world, every colony, no matter how small, had its synagogue.
The three activities of Jesus were teaching, preaching, and healing. The three activities are simply stated, but profound in their meaning.
Note there is a concentration of activity in this passage, a bombardment of ministry. Jesus is pictured running about, as active as He could be, serving and meeting the needs of people in a committed and tireless spirit. People’s needs were being met with very special care, and they were being met rapidly in a concentrated effort.
What three needs of mankind are listed?
The great needs of men are threefold: (1) to hear the gospel; (2) to be taught the gospel; and (3) to be healed personally. Jesus Christ knew man’s innermost being, what his being lacked and needed, what made man tick. Therefore, His activities were geared to man’s innermost being, to that which would meet his need.
As a result, Jesus’ fame spread throughout Syria. People everywhere needed Christ. There was no person who did not need Him, so God in His providence saw to it that the news of His Son spread everywhere.
Jesus’ power was a great and glorious power. Jesus is said to have healed “all manner of sickness and … disease” (v. 23) and “divers [many] diseases and torments” (v. 24). However, only three specific healings are listed. These particular three symbolize the power of Christ over the whole man and over the physical universe.
⇒ There was spiritual healing: Those possessed with devils.
⇒ There was mental healing: Those which were lunatic.
⇒ There was physical healing: Those that had the palsy.
The point is this: Jesus Christ has power over the whole physical universe. He has power over all the conceivable problems that can grip man: all the spiritual, mental, and physical problems.
Jesus’ following was great. This verse is emphasizing two points: (1) great multitudes of all sorts of people began to follow Jesus, and (2) they came from everywhere—from the farthest reaches of the great province, Syria.
Where are the multitudes today? What has changed?
After two thousand years why are the nations not as aroused as Israel was by the presence of Christ?
Are people no longer hungry for God? Are the fields no longer white unto harvest?
Do preachers not seek God as much as Christ did?
Are believers not as compassionate and concerned as Christ was?
Leadership Ministries Worldwide. The Gospel according to Matthew: Chapters 1:1–16:12. Vol. 1. Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 2004. Print. The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible.