Jesus in Galilee
This past week we studied Luke 4:16-31 in Sunday School. There we saw Jesus in His home synagogue in Nazareth. It was there that He read a particular passage of Scripture. This passage was clearly understood by the Jews to refer to the coming Messiah. Jesus then tells those gathered at the Sabbath service that this Messianic passage is fulfilled in their hearing. Jesus was saying, in other words, “I am the promised Messiah and I am here now”. The local folk struggled to grasp this as truth. After all, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Based on their resistance to the fact that this hometown boy is actually Meshiach (Messiah), Jesus tells them that He will be presenting God’s kingdom, not only to the nation of Israel, but also to the gentile world. This is not new information. The Old Testament makes it clear that salvation is for the whole world, not Israel alone. In fact, Israel is the servant, created by God, to bring the ultimate Servant, Jesus, the Messiah. With the Messiah coming through Israel, he could then save the world.
The rejection by the people in the synagogue is obvious in so far as, at some point, they rage against and Jesus try and kill this hometown boy. In miraculous Messianic fashion, Jesus escapes from their plan to toss Him off the cliff.
From Nazareth, Jesus heads to Capernaum. The brings us to the next step in Jesus’ Earthly journey. Capernaum is relatively near Nazareth, as both are in the Galilee region. In Matthew 4:13-16, Jesus sets up His northern headquarters in Capernaum. This city is on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum was a strategic city because the major Roman highway, Vía Maris, ran through it. There was constant traffic through that city. Since our Lord wanted people to know Who He was and that He had come, being on a major trade route/thoroughfare served a strategic purpose.
In the past, we, as a church, have discussed Matthew 4 verses 15&16 before. Those verses are a quotation from Isaiah chapter 9. Please, now look at a map showing the settlement of the 12 tribes in the land of Israel. Look for Zebulun and Naphtali. Notice where they are? Up north in the Galilee region. Nazareth is in Zebulun. Capernaum is in Naphtali. Isaiah was telling us where to be looking for the Messiah. The prophets prepared us for the Messiah, so we would know Him and believe in Him when He came.
This coming Sunday school, we will study the story of when Jesus, in Capernaum, cast out a demon from a man. Step by step we are following the Life of Christ on Earth as God presented it and preserved it in the four gospels.