THE WALKABOUT KING
Lord, on this day of revelation (Epiphany), I rejoice that the gospel of the kingdom is for all peoples in all places.
Read Matthew 4:18–25
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus Heals the Sick
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[a] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
- Matthew 4:25 That is, the Ten Cities
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.
ReflectUse these words from Newton’s hymn ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds’* as a springboard for praise: ‘Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend, / My Prophet, Priest, and King; / My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, / Accept the praise I bring.’
If you wanted to hear John preach, you had to go to him in the desert (Matthew 3:1, 5). In contrast, Jesus went to the people like a king incognito, traveling throughout the densely populated Galilean region. He went into workplaces, calling disciples (vs 18, 21), and religious meeting places, preaching and healing (v 23). Although he proclaimed and taught God’s kingdom, he was no ordinary preacher or teacher. By miraculously healing people, he proved the kingdom had come (as Isaiah had prophesied, Isaiah 35:6).
The list of diseases (vs 23, 24) implies that nothing was too hard for Jesus, while the list of places (v 25) indicates that he cared for everyone, no matter where they came from. People flocked to him from the Jewish heartlands (Jerusalem, Judea), as well as from the Gentile cities of the Decapolis and Syria.
Just as John had predicted (Matthew 3:5,11) Jesus’ reach, draw, and power were indeed greater. Verses 18–22 show us why: he speaks with winsome authority, connecting with individuals in language they understand, offering them true purpose for their lives. Who would not want to follow such a King?
When we speak with people about Jesus, which aspects of his character or ministry do we focus on?
Heavenly Father, sometimes following Your will causes me great anxiety and struggle. I need Your empowering to always embrace Your direction.
* John Newton, 1779.
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