Summary: Matthew writes his commentary from a historical Jewish viewpoint, but God is the "ghost-writer" through the Holy Spirit. Jesus reveals the light of God's Kingdom and of His grace. In This study we see the Light of the Gospel in the beginning of Jesus' M
The Dawning of the Kingdom of Heaven
If you have spent one hour watching TV or a movie in the last week, please take 15 minutes to read this! The question MOST people ask themselves when they are studying the BIBLE or “going to Church” is: What is this saying to me? How will it benefit my life? How is this going to make me happier, healthier or wealthier? Though God’s salvation in grace in Jesus Christ certainly brings TO US and does FOR US everything that we cannot do on our own, it DOES NOT bring us everything we WANT or THINK we deserve.
Perhaps a better question to ask as we begin this section of Matthew in the ministry of Jesus would be: What is God revealing to me concerning His Character and His HEAVENLY KINGDOM? In this section of Matthew, Jesus gives us some Characteristics of the BEGINNING of the Kingdom of Heaven.
God Changes Ministers
Listen to Matthew 4:12-17 with a deeper and expanded understanding of the words: “Now when Jesus (means, God is salvation, SAVIOR) heard that John (God is a gracious giver) had been taken into custody… He withdrew into Galilee.”
(Taken into custody is “Paradidomi” in the Greek: It means “TO GIVE INTO THE HANDS OF ANOTHER”. It’s used 117 times in the NT. 27 times it is translated, “betrayed”. John’s demise of being “put into the hands of another, would also be Jesus’ demise, but for a far superior purpose.
(The word Sounds like “paradise”; “Paradise” is Paradeisos (GR.) - among the Persians a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting ground, park, shady and well watered, in which wild animals, were kept for the hunt; it was enclosed by walls and furnished with towers for the hunters, a garden, pleasure ground grove, park, the part of Hades which was thought by the later Jews to be the abode of the souls of pious until the resurrection: but some understand this to be a heavenly paradise.)
I. Why does God tell us that John was “taken into custody”? In a sense, it is the end of one era and the beginning of another, but not different dispensations as some might call it. The fact is this: John’s ministry was completed, and Jesus’ ministry begins. John was called to prepare the way of the Lord and now the Lord himself is going to minister in the Flesh. The arm of the Lord is being revealed. It is something far greater: John announced the appearance of Jesus, but Jesus announces HIMSELF and His Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. God is taking the ministry of John and putting it into the hands of Jesus because Jesus is the fulfillment of all that John preached!
“Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew (returned) into Galilee; (Galilee means "circuit, district", a territory in Naphtali largely occupied by heathen; There was a circuit of towns around Kedesh-Naphtali which Solomon had given to Hiram, king of Tyre, as payment for his work in conveying timber from Lebanon to Jerusalem- Galilee is entioned 7 times in the OT and 60 times in the NT.)
II. What is the significance of Jesus “returning” to Galilee to minister? For one thing, it is yet another O.T. prophecy fulfilled in Jesus, but more important still is the fact that Jesus is ministering to the Gentiles and to the World, not merely to the Jews. We often think that Jesus ministered to the Jews but gave the ministry off to the apostles after Pentecost. Not so.
13 and leaving Nazareth,("the guarded one") He came and settled in Capernaum, (glorying or glorified one) which is by the sea, (the root word for sea is “salt”. In the Bible the sea is a picture of what? Wickedness and the World) in the region of Zebulun (habitation or exaltation) and Naphtali (meaning “wrestled” or twisted”, son of Jacob who wrestled with God).
14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah (YHWH, the eternal one, saves) the prophet : 15 "THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, (“to come down or be brought down, “descender”) GALILEE OF THE GENTILES .” (from Isa. 9:1- But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish ; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
16 "THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED."
(“Sitting” is “to take a seat, to seat yourself.” You CHOOSE to sit where you are sitting. “Darkness” means sin, metaph. used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery in hell.” “Dawned”- anatello: ana- in the midst or among…..telos---end: 'He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the END… I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the END. For the outcome( the END) of those things is death. (Rom. 6:21) Rom 10:4 says: “For Christ is the END of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”