The Weekend Word
So as I have been saying throughout this – Jesus is the Israel that Israel could not be.
If you think about it – as we saw in the wilderness temptation, Jesus shows us what it is like to be a human being – to live by faith in God’s word.
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.
- Here probably more than anywhere else, Jesus begins his public ministry.
- Jesus moves his public ministry headquarters back to Galilee. Remember in chapter 3 he left Galilee to be baptized by John.
13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,
14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
- Again that movement by Matthew to highlight “might be fulfilled.”
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
- A reminder that Matthew is going through several things to show that Jesus is the fulfillment.
- From Isaiah 9:1-6
- This is the 5th OT citation used by Matthew in this first section. He develops it as a formula to help his class know that Jesus is the one spoken of.
- Matt 1:22-23; 2:14-15; 2:16-18, 2:23 –
- Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
- 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
- Isaiah 9:2
- This is fulfilling prophecy according to Matthew
- Isaiah is fulfilled – a light has dawned on darkness.
- This light that will shine in the darkness is a promise to the Northern Kingdom that was conquered by the Assyrians in the 8th century BC – along with others – this is now fulfilled in Jesus
- You read Isaiah – John – Revelation — Jesus is Lord
- And all 3 of these books are written in concentric circles spiraling up to show greater and greater that Jesus is Lord
- Like Isaiah, Matthew is showing that salvation has now come not just to Israel but to the gentiles.
- Now the skeptics would say that the heat was on, John was arrested so Jesus fled. Is that what we have? A fleeing messiah?
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- Jesus preaches what John the Baptist was preaching
- Who wants to hear another pastor?
- Jesus reaches into the files and pulls out an old John the Baptist sermon – who had probably plagiarized an OT prophet sermon.
- Jesus does not make up a new sermon – The message is always the same.
- Prepare for the Kingdom
- Repent = A spiritual about face. A conversion, to move from sin and unbelief to repentant faith and salvation.
- Again, the kingdom = “God is here”
- The reign of heaven is not primarily a place – it is not a group of people or an organization.
- The reign of heaven is the reigning of God – What God the king is doing – in Jesus.
- This clause is one of 2 that change and move the plots direction – the other;
- Matt 16:21 – “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
- A couple of points – I wonder what his body language was like?
- Did he point to himself as he spoke?
- How about the crowd? – When he said “God is here” Did they all start looking around, look at who might be coming up the road? Looking everywhere except to Jesus?
- Isn’t that our expectation for the Kingdom? We expect Grand & Glorious … but no it is right here
- What do we see? The glory of the Father in the face of Jesus.
- Who were the people who really understood what Jesus was saying? – I mean those who truly understood were the ones who wanted to put him to death.
- They clearly understood his claims to be God – and thought it blasphemy.
- How can a man make such a claim?
All of this is Matthew giving us the Cliff notes on all that OT stuff. It’s all about Jesus.
So when Jesus comes along, takes up the mantle of John the Baptist and says repent what do you do? You hear the word and through that word God repents you.