Brad Reads the Gospels: Matthew 4:12-25

12 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13 He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali,
beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River,
in Galilee where so many Gentiles live,
16 the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light.
And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow,
a light has shined.”

Back from the Wilderness.  Jesus has emerged, called back, Matthew tells us, by reports that his forerunner has been imprisoned (Matthew does not mention who told Him this news.  Was it reported by the messengers who attended Him after his trial?  Did he cross paths with another traveler in the desert?  Did He stumble, weak and filthy and dried out by the harsh sun, into some small town where He got caught up on current events as he washed and rehydrated himself at the well?  Our imaginations are left to do their own work).  Matthew also tells us, as we ought by now to expect, that Jesus was fulfilling more ancient prophecies.  This prophecy, interestingly enough, specifies that the Light will shine in a land inhabited by gentiles.  The Annointed One begins His work in Hellenised territory.

And He has, at last, begun His work.

17From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

There it is.  One word, the call to turn aside and walk a new path.  One reason, because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  What is this Kingdom?  He will say more in due time.

18Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

19And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

20Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

21Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.

22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

There were four men, unwashed, unlearned, poor, callused.  And it was to them that Jesus came, on the banks of the Sea of Galilee.

There was a man, underfed, dusty, fresh from the desert, eyes alight with revelation.  And when He called, they set aside their nets, they set aside their lives, and they walked away from what they had and what they knew, and followed.

There is little enough said about old Zebedee, or the boats, or the nets, the fish.  Little said about wives and children.  From that day on, Simon, Andrew, and the Sons of Zebedee were disciples of Christ, and what they had been was gone.

Jesus’ focus was never on the family.  It was on the Kingdom of Heaven.

3Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

24The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.

25Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

Preaching.  Healing.  Which was more important?

Pain, sickness, madness, possession and paralysis.  Jesus found people suffering, people broken.  And He fixed them.  He makes things new again.  His purpose, above all, was to purify*.  Body, mind, spirit: the human trinity.  Each aspect is attended to by the Christ, in its own good time.

And now there are followers.  The first four to be called, of course, but also crowds from across the land.  Rustic Galilee, the Hellenized Ten Cities, Jerusalem God’s Holy City, and from beyond the River Jordan.

Things have begun to happen.

*The principle cry in the song is, of course, that found in the Sinner’s Prayer.  And the first Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  It’s in the opening lines of Lacuna Coil’s song of the same title: “I can’t fight against myself / No more.”  That is the place where we find God, and that is why The Ballad of Reading Gaol ought to be in the hymnbooks.


One Response to “Brad Reads the Gospels: Matthew 4:12-25”

  1. really liked the Lacuna Coil song

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