Lord, thank You for opening my eyes so that I can see.
Read MATTHEW 4:12–25
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.”
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
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, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
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.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isa. 9:2).
As we hear today’s moment-by-moment news coverage, darkness sometimes threatens to overwhelm us. Yet, as believers, we know that there is ultimate light in Christ. Matthew starts at the beginning, portraying Jesus as the Messiah, the Light of the world. Exciting times! After John the Baptist is imprisoned, Jesus leaves Nazareth and comes to live in Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee (13). There he resumes John’s preaching ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (17; Matt. 3:2).
Jesus’ move to the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali in Galilee fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy (13–16; Isa. 9:1,2). Ever since the Assyrian Exile, these border regions had been mixed with Gentiles (15). Referring to the “land of… shadow” (16), Matthew’s citation of Isaiah introduces Jesus as the Light (16). Moreover, Galilee—set near major travel routes and comparatively densely populated—is strategically significant. Intentionally, Jesus bases this first period of his messianic ministry in a place ready to welcome him and spread his Good News for all.
The work begins with relationships: a small community of followers, set to eventually spread across the world, ultimately including us. The pattern is now established: Jesus calls, they respond and they leave their old lives to follow the One whom they gradually come to know as the Christ (18–20). Now the work of discipling begins in earnest (23–25): teaching in synagogues (the Jews must hear first; Rom. 1:16); preaching not just repentance but the “good news of the kingdom” (23)—of being put right with God; healing of every kind of sickness. In it all, the disciples are watching, learning and remembering: “freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind… the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19; Isa. 61:1,2).
Can you recall a time of personal Bible study when the light suddenly went on and you saw something new, i.e., you saw a great light?
Lord Jesus, I hear Your call. Help me to follow Your light and bring it to dark places today.