LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Loving Lord, You are my God and You are greatly to be praised. There is none beside You. Glory to Your Name.
Read Matthew 4:12–17
Jesus Begins to Preach
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”[a]
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
- Matthew 4:16 Isaiah 9:1,2
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectImagine Jesus knocks on your door. He has come to stay. What will you do together? Where will you take him? What will you talk about?
For the scrupulous, religious elite in Jerusalem, the tribal lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, in northern Israel, were no ‘des-res’. They were areas to avoid. This region (which included Galilee) was a spiritual backwater, diluted by the pagan practices of the Gentiles. Historically, the northern tribes had lived, literally, in the ‘shadow of death’ as wave after wave of foreign armies had invaded, slaughtered, and deported the people. Isaiah 8:19 – 9:1 provides their backstory: these tribes had turned away from God and had been humbled through testing and judgment. Surely they did not deserve to be the first to see the ’great light,’ a.k.a. God’s prom- ised Messiah King (Isaiah 9:1–7)!
It is a sign of God’s undeserved kindness that the Messiah should choose to live (vs 12, 13) among people with a troubled past, who had failed and forsaken God, who had known the violence of war and the pain of exile. What a powerful message of hope: God’s servant-king becomes their neighbor and offers them a second chance (v 17)!
And, if we feel we have failed or forsaken God, let’s heed Jesus’ words (v 17) and turn back to him completely.
How might we bring the light of Jesus to people in our communities who feel they are failures? How might we be neighbors to those who are despised or marginalized?
Holy One, You have brought me into Your light in Jesus Christ. Help me to live and speak so to help others to see and follow the light too.
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