The Beginning of Jesus Christ’s Ministry – Matthew 4:12-17

Gospel of Matthew 4:12-17

The Beginning of Jesus Christ’s Ministry

After Jesus had been baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:32,22; John 1:29-34) and triumphs over Satan in the wilderness(Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1-13), He learned that John the Baptist had been arrested and went to live in Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee.   The land of Galilee was considered the land of people who walk in darkness, that is, without the religious advantages of Jerusalem and Judea.  It was considered by Old Testament writing to be the land of the shadow of death, where the darkness was most dense (Job 10:21, Ps 107:10; Jer 13:16; Amos 5:8).   

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus began His Ministry in the Galilee regions by preaching the same words John the Baptist did, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”(Matthew 3:2). Then, Jesus calls 2 fishermen of that area to be His first Apostles, Simon (also called Peter or Cephas: John 1:41,42) and Andrew (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11).  Andrew(John 1:41) and Simon (John 1:41, 42) were followers of John the Baptist’s teachings, so they would have been familiar with, and receptive to, Jesus’ call to follow Him because of John the Baptist’s teachings.

Capernaum did have a small Jewish population, but it was predominately a diverse population of Gentiles and an important Roman garrison town.   Most biblical scholars agree that the Old Testament prophesies in Isaiah 9:1-2 (refer also to Job 10:21; Ps 107:10; Jer 13:16 and Amos 5:8) speaks of the people in this region who sat in darkness and lived in the shadow of death because they had not been properly taught about God and they lacked the knowledge that their souls could be saved from eternal death. Therefore, Jesus beginning His ministry and assembling His first Apostles from this region, fulfills the ancient Old Testament prophesies and brings the Word of God and the message of Salvation to all nations.

References: Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, The Jewish War; Lawrence Farley, The Gospel of Luke, Good News for the Poor, Conciliar Press; Walter Liefeld, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 8; Zondervan; Paul Tarazi, Luke and Acts, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, KJV.  NKJV.