The Gospel of Matthew
Session 7 – 10/20/2013
Fr. John Codis
4:12 – 17, Christ Settles in Galilee
Opening thoughts and basis for discussion
The time had come for Christ to go forth and begin His ministry.
His first act was to literally shut the door that lay behind Him before he opened the door that stood in front of Him. In life there comes these moments of decision. Christ did not vacillate but with surgical precision decided between the two courses of action.
Christ began His ministry in Galilee because it was a densely populated area of Palestine, where there were the most people to hear him. Not only does the population number allow for such fertile ground, the Galileans themselves were ready to follow a leader.
The reason the Galileans were so open to new ideas is threefold:
- It was surrounded by Gentiles and for that reason they were open to new ideas in a way that no other part of Palestine was.
- The roads of the world passed through Galilee as was saw in Nazareth.
- Its geographical position had affected Galilee’s history almost exclusively through foreign invasion.
The natural characteristics of Galilee and its history made it the one place that a new message had a real chance of being heard. This is where Christ began His mission and first announced His message.
Matthew’s use of the Old Testament
Matthew finds a prophecy in Isaiah 9:1, 2 which describes that Palestine and the territories being concurred at that time by the Assyrians, which foretold of the light that Jesus was to bring.
“Jesus began to preach”
We see one brief sentence of the message which Jesus brought. “Jesus began to preach” (Matt. 4:17). Jesus was the herald who had in his voice a note of certainty, authority, and a source beyond himself.
“The message of Christ consisted of a command that was the consequence of a new situation.” Christ said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at Hand.”
Matthew summarizes Jesus’ message with the same words that were spoken by John the Baptist. For both Jesus and John were sent by the same Father, of whom Jesus is the Only Begotten Son and Messiah and John as His Forerunner.