Summary: Christ came 1) At the Right Time (Matthew 4:12a); to 2) The Right Place (Matthew 4:12b-16); and with 3) The Right Proclamation (Matthew 4:17).
There are a few times in people’s lives that world wide seminal changes occur. For many in this room, World War II meant the removal of an evil atheistic empire. In my lifetime, the fall of Communion in Eastern Europe allowed a new freedom of worship and the proclamation of the Gospel. For those living now events in Yemen, Egypt, Libya and other middle-eastern nations are wholesale changes of despotic regimes. People are becoming more and more sensitive to democratic abilities and rising up to seize freedom.
Jesus Christ came not only to make man sensitive again to sin, but to restore the life and health that sin has destroyed. He came not only to reveal the darkness that sin causes, but also to bring the light that overcomes the darkness. (Luke 2:30–32; Isa. 42:6; 49:6; 52:10).
As you consider your own life, do you notice that you become more and more sensitive to sin? Do you find yourself craving the word of God more and more? Do you desire to worship with the people of God? Do you desire to spend time studying the word with other Christians? Do you desire to be a reflective light of hope and truth for others? These are signs of the light of Christ dawning in believers lives.
In Matthew 4:12–17, Matthew gives three features of Jesus’ early ministry that show God’s perfect work through His Son, "the Light that Dawned". They show how Christ was to be a light and how he came: 1) At the Right Time (Matthew 4:12a); 2) The Right Place (Matthew 4:12b-16); and with 3) The Right Proclamation (Matthew 4:17).
Jesus’ early ministry was:
1) The Right Time (Matthew 4:12a)
Matthew 4:12a Now when he heard that John had been arrested, (he withdrew into Galilee). (ESV)
In Matthew’s presentation, Jesus’ official ministry began when the herald of the King went to jail. There may well have been a time interval of about a year, during which the events related in John 1:19–4:42 occurred. If so, the date when Jesus set out for Galilee to begin the Great Galilean Ministry was probably about December of the year A.D. 27 or a little later. (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol. 9: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew. New Testament Commentary (238–239). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).
The Son of God always worked on His Father’s divine timetable. He had, as it were, a divine clock ticking in His mind and heart that regulated everything He said and did. Paul affirms:
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, (ESV)
Jesus chose not to use His supernatural powers to accomplish things that could be accomplished by ordinary human means. He submitted Himself to human limitations. Although He knew what was in every, human’s heart (John 2:24–25), He learned of John’s imprisonment by common report, just as did everyone else. It was only when He heard of John’s arrest that He went back to Galilee.