Matthew 4:12-17 Jesus Began to Preach

Our Scripture text for today comes from the book of Matthew chapter four verses twelve through seventeen. Here we find a bridge from the first part of the book into the next. This is the conclusion of the first narrative section and we will now move from the ministry of John the Immerser to the public ministry of Jesus.

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God

Point 1: Dwelt in Capernaum (vv12-13a)A. Matthew emphasizes the importance of the imprisonment of John the Baptizer. After he was put in prison, Jesus had no more reason to stay in Judea and so He heads back to Galilee. This time, instead of moving back to His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus moves to Capernaum.
B. The work of the forerunner was finished. The One that he was pointing to had come. The ministry of John will now fade as the Christ comes on the public scene in full force.
C. Capernaum was larger, more significant than Nazareth, and a strategic, lakeside setting. Though the town was larger and more significant than Nazareth, it was a humble, peasant town.
a. Small agricultural and fishing village – Approx. 1,000-1,500 people
b. Home of brothers Peter and Andrew, and also James and John.
c. It is here that Jesus calls Himself the “Bread of Life,” heals Peter’s mother-in-law, heals the man let down through the roof, and raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead.
d. As the account unfolds we will see that many people in Capernaum knew about Jesus, but many would not recognize Him as anything more than a mere Galilean.

Point 2: Scripture Fulfilled (vv13b-16)A. We see that the reference to Capernaum is expanded. Not only are we told that Jesus moved to Capernaum and that it was by the sea, but we are also told that it was “in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali.”
B. Matthew likes to give geographical markers for OT fulfillments:
1. Bethlehem 2:5-6
2. Egypt 2:15
3. Nazareth 2:23
C. Now there is a fulfillment note after the reference to Jesus’ move to Capernaum, “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet…”
a. It will be important then to know what the Isaiah actually said.
b. Yet, Isaiah doesn’t even mention Capernaum even within the surrounding context of the quote given by Matthew. And Capernaum was in the tribal area of Naphtali, not Zebulun. So why does Matthew link the two areas?
c. Matthew sets us up here. In Isaiah chapters seven and eight, Isaiah tells of the end of God’s judgment. In fact, disaster had hit and the capital city of Samaria fell to the Assyrians in 722 B.C. The people knew darkness during that time. Their leadership was exiled and the Assyrians occupied the land. Isa 8:22 says, “Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.” This gives way to C9 which announces an end of God’s judgment (light).

d. Zebulun and Naphtali were the northern tribes near the Sea of Galilee. These were areas of land given by God to Israel. Assyria had violated Israel by invading and inhabiting the God-given land.
e. How is this relevant to Matthew four?
1. Jesus moved to this territory – Galilee of/under the Gentiles
2. Jesus begins His public ministry here in predominately Gentile territory
3. Jesus begins His ministry in the midst of paganism – Jupiter as primary god
4. The OT situation parallels the NT – Rome inhabited the land
-Rome oppressed the area with heavy taxation and corrupt politics.
f. The original audience of the book would have known, and now we should put together, this sitting in darkness and shadow of death language with God’s intervention. Isaiah prophesied the END of judgment against the people. Now the same has come. There is a Way of escape. The darkness in that place was not mainly spiritual, but also political, social, economic, and religious. “To ‘sit in darkness’ is to live in the midst of actions and structures contrary to God’s will.”
g. THE LIGHT IS JESUS’ PRESENCE IN GALILEE. His public ministry was to commence in this hostile, Gentile, pagan culture AND it was not going to be political.
In order to overcome the darkness Jesus Himself had to step in, Jesus Himself had to come.

Point 3: What You Hear is What You Get (v17)A. Like John, Jesus calls for repentance.
B. We can not make of Jesus what we want. We can not put words in His mouth.
C. Words have meaning. So when Jesus says, "Repent" He actually means repent.
D. We can not make for ourselves our own God. When Jesus comes in full force He comes preaching. We must affirm what He has said.

The first major section of the book of Matthew runs from 1:1-4:16. Matthew has begun to show Jesus’ as the prophesied Messiah, the true Israel. He has foreshadowed many things not the least is being the rejection and hostility to Jesus and the Suffering Servant role He would assume.

What you see is what you get – the CROSS.
If you submit to what you see, the cross, then you will know God’s love...