Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light
|| Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:14
MT4:12 Now, having heard John [the Baptist] was arrested, Jesus retired into Galilee. MT4:13 Leaving Nazareth Jesus took up residence in Capernaum by the sea in the districts of Zebulun and Naphtali, MT4:14 so that it might be fulfilled as it as spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, MT4:15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, by the sea on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the nations, MT4:16 those people sitting in a region of death’s dark shadow saw a great Light rise upon them.” [Isaiah 9:1, 2] MT4:17 From that time Jesus started preaching, saying, “Repent, for the Realm of the heavens has drawn near.”
Wooden longboat in the large freshwater lake Sea of Chinneret (Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias) Sea of Galilee, Tiberias.
 Galilee: The place occurs 76 times in the Bible with the region first mentioned at Numbers 34:11 (Joshua 20:7). The fresh water “lake” is also called the Sea of Chinnereth (Numbers 34:11), the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). Jesus begins his ministry here and essentially ends it also at Galilee (John 21:1, 4-19). The lake is green/blue 13 miles long and 7 miles wide. “The density of the shoals of fish in the Sea of Galilee can scarcely be conceived by those who have not witnessed them. Frequently these shoals cover an acre or more of the surface and the fish, as they slowly move along in masses, are so crowded, with their back fins just appearing on the level of the water, that the appearance at a little distance is that of a violent shower of rain pattering on the surface.” (The Natural History of the Bible, H. B. Tristram, 1889, p. 285) All of Jesus’ faithful apostles came from this area.
 Nazareth: Probably just after Luke 4:28-30.
 Capernaum: The name means “Comforting Place.” The place occurs 16 times in the Christian Bible. Mark 2:1 calls this Jesus’ “home.” (“his house”)
 Zebulun: The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 48 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:20. Compare Psalm 68:27. The name means perhaps “Toleration” or “Lofty Abode.” Compare Revelation 7:8.
 Naphtali: The name means “My Wrestlings.” The territory named after a son of Israel occurs 55 times in the Bible with the first at Genesis 30:8. Compare Revelation 7:6.
 Isaiah: Isaiah 9:1, 2. The prophet Isaiah is named 22 times in the Christian Bible (Matthew, 6; Mark, 2; Luke, 2; John, 4; Acts, 3; Romans, 5). In addition to direct quotations there are many allusions which are subtle paraphrases (Compare John 5:29 with Isaiah 26:19 LXX).
 Galilee: A prophecy indicating where Messiah would begin his ministry. It is in this area where the Nazarene sees his greatest fruitage – the foundation of Christianity.
 Those people: Note Acts 1:11; 2:7. We have a great spiritual debt to these folks.
 From that time: About a year after John the Baptist began his own ministry.
 Repent: The first words of the “Gospel” in the mouth of Jesus. Repentance is part of the Lord’s Gospel.
 Realm of the heavens: Or, “kingdom of the heavens.” The meaning is two fold: a) the King is present; and, b) the opportunity to enter the Nazarene’s realm of profession by confessing him as Lord.
Capernaum, Sea of Galilee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:1-4 A Wilderness Temptation
Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:5-7 – A Temptation to Test God
Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule
Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples
Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds
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