Matthew 4:12-25

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

THE BEGINNING OF CHRIST’S

GALILEAN MINISTRY

INTRODUCTION:

 

The preparation for the work which God the Father gave Jesus to do has ended. It’s time for Him to begin His Galilean ministry.

 

He has been identified as David’s Son - 1:1-17

 

He has been identified as the Messiah - 1:18 - 3:12

 

1.By being born of the virgin Mary - 1:18-25

 

                  2.   By being honored and worshiped by the wise men as King of kings and Lord of lords - 2:1-23

 

3.By being introduced by John the Baptist - 3:1-12

 

He has identified himself with the people in His baptism - 3:13-17

 

He has demonstrated Himself to be a worthy sacrifice for sin in His triumph over Satan in the temptation - 4:1-11

 

In Matthew 4:12-25 we see several things about the beginning of Christ’s public ministry which will be helpful to us as we consider our own ministries.

 

Be reminded that all saved persons are in Christ’s service or ministry. We are all His servants. We are all His ministers. Some of us derive our living or our income from the Lord’s service. Some of us do not, but we are all in His ministry. We serve Him with our lives.

We see that –

    I.     CHRIST BEGAN HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY IN GALILEE AT THE RIGHT TIME - 4:12

 

Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee.

 

The Beginning of Christ’s Galilean Ministry coincided with the arrest of John the Baptist. Jesus had been in Judea and, according to verse 12, had traveled to Galilee. His public ministry began when John the Baptist was thrown into prison. On the way to Galilee He would pass through Samaria where He would meet with the woman at the well. Jesus departed into Galilee is Jesus withdrew into Galilee.

 

At this point in time, John’s ministry was basically over. He would never get out of prison. His attitude, however, was already expressed in John 3:30 before his arrest.

 

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

 

We read more about the arrest of John the Baptist in Matthew 14:3-5 .

 

Matthew 14:3-5 – (3) For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. (4) For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. (5) And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

 

Later at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’ daughter danced for Herod and pleased him so much that he promised to give her whatever she asked. To his surprise, she asked for the head of John the Baptist; so, Herod sent and beheaded John the Baptist in prison.

 

Just as Jesus began His public ministry in Galilee at exactly the right time, we must also be in the place of God’s choosing at just the right time. Don’t rush things and don’t drag things out. Don’t get ahead of God, and don’t lag behind.

Next, we see that –

  II.     CHRIST BEGAN HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY IN GALILEE AT THE RIGHT PLACE - 4:13-16

 

Matthew 4:13-16 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

 

Following Jesus’ arrival in Galilee, He apparently lived in Nazareth and taught in the synagogues of Galilee. One day Jesus taught in the synagogue in Galilee and was rejected. Luke 4 gives the details of this rejection.

 

Luke 4:16-21 , 28-29 – (16) And he [i.e. Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

(17) And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

(18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

(19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

(20) And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

(21) And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

 

The Jews in the synagogue in Nazareth who heard this statement recognized that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. As a result, rather than accepting Him, they attempted to kill Him.

 

Luke 4:28-29 – (28) And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, (29) And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong [i.e. that they might throw Him down over the cliff].

 

Back to Matthew 4:13

And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast. Following His rejection in Nazareth, Jesus moved to Capernaum, the one located by the sea.

 

Dwelt suggests that Jesus lived, resided, or settled down in Capernaum.

 

Capernaum was located on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Gennesaret), but its exact site is not certain. Among the miracles Jesus performed there were the healing of the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13 ), the healing of the paralytic who was carried by four men who lowered him through the roof of the home where Jesus was teaching (Mark 2:1-13 ), and the healing of the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54 ). Sadly, Capernaum did not take advantage of its opportunities to repent, and Jesus prophesied its doom in Matthew 11:23-24 .

 

Matthew 11:23-24 – (23) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. (24) But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

 

Again, back to Matthew 4:13

Capernaum was located in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim, i.e. in the regions settled by the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali in the days of Joshua.

 

Just as Christ began His public ministry at the place of God’s choosing, the place of your ministry must also be in the place of God’s choosing. You begin with serving Him where you are, right here where you are living. If He wants you to go elsewhere, He is perfectly capable of leading you to move to the place of His choosing.

 

Remember that just as it was God’s will for Jesus to go to Capernaum where He was not appreciated, it may be God’s will for your ministry to be in some location where you are not appreciated as a believer.

 

Matthew 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying.

 

According to verse 14, Jesus’ move to Capernaum resulted in a prophecy from Isaiah being fulfilled. This prophecy is stated in verses 15-16.

 

That is in order that or for the purpose that.

 

It might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet is literally, That the things spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled. Isaiah is pictured as being the mouthpiece through whom God spoke, which means that the words Isaiah spoke originated with God. God led Isaiah to say what he said.

 

Saying introduces what God said through Isaiah in verses 15-16.

 

Matthew 4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

 

Verse 15 quotes the beginning of a prophecy from Isaiah 9:1-2 .

 

The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim is simply land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali. These are the names of two of the 12 tribes of Israel. Naphtali is on the north and west sides of the Sea of Galilee, and Zebulun is located farther west.

 

By the way of the sea is toward the sea [i.e. toward the Sea of Galilee].

 

Beyond Jordan means on the other side of the Jordan (River) and refers to the territory on the eastern side of the Jordan (River).

 

Galilee of the Gentiles is the district of the Gentiles. The pagan Gentiles would be privileged to have opportunity to see great spiritual light as a result of Jesus’ residing in this territory.

 

Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

 

The people which sat in darkness is the people, the ones who were sitting [i.e. the ones who were living (or residing)] in (spiritual) darkness].

 

Saw great light as the result of Jesus Christ’s living, teaching, and performing miracles among them. It suggests that they were spiritually illumined.

 

The second half of verse 16 says the same thing as the first half but uses different words; so, the meaning is the same. And to them which sat in the region and shadow of death is and to the ones who were sitting in the place (or land) and shadow of death.

 

The shadow of death suggests a shadow cast by death, as if death were a person standing beside people and casting his shadow upon them. People were spiritually dead and heading toward the second death, i.e. toward everlasting punishment in the lake of fire.

 

Light is sprung up suggests light rose on them or light dawned on them, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It means that they have been spiritually illumined.

 

People living in the area of Capernaum had a tremendous opportunity to be saved. Sadly, many squandered their opportunity.

Furthermore, we see that –

 III.     CHRIST BEGAN HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY IN GALILEE WITH THE RIGHT MESSAGE - 4:17

 

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

Jesus’ message was the same as John the Baptist’s message.

 

Matthew 3:1-2 – (1) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, (2) And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

From that time is from that time on or from then on.

 

Jesus began to preach, and to say introduces a change which took place in the life of Jesus following His return to Galilee after John had been cast into prison.

 

What Jesus preached and said was, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

Repent means be changing your minds and suggests that they needed to be changing their minds about the way they had been living.

 

For introduces the reason they needed to be changing their minds.

 

The kingdom of heaven speaks of heaven’s rule or heaven’s reign, where heaven speaks of God.

 

Is at hand suggests has come or is near and is referring to the approaching reign of God.

 

Jesus’ message called for genuine repentance and announced that the kingdom of heaven was available to the Jews.

 

We must be certain that we have the right message. We basically have only two messages. People need to be saved and they need to be living for the Lord. Every message I preach is a variation of John 3:16 or II Corinthians 5:15 or a combination of both of them.

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

II Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

In addition, we see that –

 IV.     CHRIST BEGAN HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY IN GALILEE WITH THE RIGHT PARTNERS - 4:18-22

 

Matthew 4:18-2218 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

 

In verse 18 Jesus meets two fishermen named Peter and Andrew.

 

Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee suggests Jesus, while walking about (or while going about) along the sea of Galilee.

 

Saw two brethren is noticed two brothers or caught sight of two brothers, who are identified as Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother.

 

At the time Jesus noticed them, they were casting a net into the sea, which indicates that they were throwing a circular casting-net into the sea. The reason they were doing this is explained by the phrase for they were fishers, i.e. fishermen.

 

Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

 

And he saith unto them is, And Jesus says to Peter and Andrew.

 

Follow me is come after me or come, follow after me. As a command, follow me is equivalent to the condition in a conditional statement in the sense of if you follow me.

 

The conclusion of this conditional statement or the result of their following Him is, I will make you fishers of men, i.e. I will make you fishermen of human beings.

 

Men is the generic term for human beings and is not limited to adult males.

 

Matthew 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

 

And straightway is and immediately or and at once.

 

They left their nets indicates that Peter and Andrew left their occupation as fishermen.

 

And followed him suggests and went after Jesus or and became Jesus’ disciples.

 

Matthew 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

 

According to verse 21, Jesus saw two fishermen named James and John doing maintenance on their fishing nets and asked them to follow Him.

 

And going on from thence is and having gone on from there, i.e. from the place where He called Peter and Andrew. It is understood in the sense of after he went on from there.

 

Saw is noticed or caught sight of.

 

What Jesus noticed was other two brethren, two other brothers, who are identified as James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother.

 

They were in a ship with Zebedee their father, and they were mending their nets, which suggests that they were putting their nets in order. They may have been cleaning their nets, folding them, or mending them. Somehow they were restoring their nets to their former condition.

 

And he called them [i.e. Jesus called James and John). It suggests that He summoned them to be His disciples and to follow Him.

 

Matthew 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

 

And they refers to James and John.

 

Immediately is at once.

 

Left the ship and their father, Zebedee. James and John left the family business. They left their occupation as fishermen.

 

And followed him suggests that they went after Jesus or that they became Jesus’ disciples.

Finally, we see that –

   V.     CHRIST BEGAN HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY IN GALILEE WITH THE RIGHT PLAN: TEACHING, PREACHING, HEALING - 4:23-25

 

Matthew 4:23-2523 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. 24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

 

Verse 23 indicates that Jesus proclaimed in the synagogues throughout Galilee the good news of the kingdom of God while healing many people.

 

And Jesus went about all Galilee suggests, And Jesus went around throughout all Galilee.

 

Teaching, preaching, and healing all indicate how He went about.

 

Jesus was teaching (or instructing) in their synagogues, i.e. in places where Jews assembled for worship and instruction.

 

He was also preaching the gospel of the kingdom, which suggests He was proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of heaven had come near.

 

Furthermore, Jesus was healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people, which suggests He was healing every disease (i.e. illness) and every debility (i.e. weakness or sickness) among the people. Every sickness suggests physical maladies; whereas, every disease suggests conditions of bodily weakness.

 

Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

 

According to verse 24, Jesus’ reputation spread throughout Syria where He healed many who were suffering with various problems.

 

And his (i.e. Jesus’) fame suggests and the report about Him.

 

Went throughout all Syria suggests went out and spread throughout all Syria. Syria is located north and a little east of Israel.

 

As a result of Jesus’ widespread fame, they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy.

 

They brought unto him indicates that people brought all kinds of people having problems to Jesus.

 

All is understood with sick people, as well as with were taken, with were possessed, with were lunatick, and with had the palsy.

 

All sick people is all the ones who were sick or all the ones who were ill.

 

They also brought (all) that were taken with divers diseases [i.e. all the ones with various physical maladies (or various illnesses)] and torments [i.e. severe pains].

 

In addition, they brought (all) those which were possessed with devils [i.e. all the ones who were demon possessed].

 

Furthermore, they brought (all) those which were lunatick [i.e. all the ones who were epileptics (or all those experiencing epileptic seizures)].

 

Finally, they brought (all) those that had the palsy [i.e. all the paralytics (or all the lame people)].

 

And he healed them suggests that Jesus healed every one of those who were brought to him with any of these maladies.

 

Matthew 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

 

According to verse 25, Jesus attracted great crowds from various areas of Israel.

 

And there followed him great multitudes of people is, And great crowds followed Him.

 

From Galilee indicates that they came from the northern territory of Israel.

 

They also came from Decapolis, the name of a league originally consisting of ten cities, nine of which were located east of the Jordan River.

 

They were also from Jerusalem (the capital of Judea), and from Judaea (the southern territory in Israel), and from beyond Jordan (areas east of the Jordan River).

 

Miracles of healing were common in Christ’s ministry and accredited His ministry as being from God. Miracles of healing continued throughout the New Testament era. However, the gift of healing ceased to be necessary in order to accredit the gospel message and, therefore, ceased to be given once the New Testament was completed. Instead, the New Testament accredited the gospel message.

CONCLUSION:

 

Remember that we all as saved persons are in Christ’s service or ministry. We are His servants. We are His ministers. Some of us derive our living from the Lord’s service. Some of us do not, but we are all in His ministry. We all serve Him with our lives.

 

Let’s be certain that we serve Him at the right time, in the right place, in the right manner, and with the right message.

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