Jesus and the Scriptures
Text: Matthew 4:12-17
Matthew once again noted how the Scriptures were fulfilled when Jesus chose to minister in Capernaum.
“And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in
Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions
of Zebulun and Naphthali, that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the
Without question, Jesus knew the Scriptures, even this seemingly obscure text found in Isaiah 9, which reads,
“Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her
Who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed the land
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
in Galilee of the Gentiles.”
What was the role of the Scriptures in the life of Jesus? We may make the following observations with reference to Jesus and the Scriptures.
1. He appreciated the prophetic significance of the Scriptures
a) The Scriptures were given by God Himself.
b) They were meant to be understood and then obeyed.
c) When Jesus complied with the Scriptures, He also fulfilled them.
2. He appreciated the intrinsic worth of the Scriptures
a) There was great wisdom to be found in the Scriptures.
b) One could not do any better than to fathom their depths and then apply them in life and ministry.
c) When Nazareth rejected His ministry, Jesus wisely sought the Scriptures and was led to minister in Capernaum in Galilee.
THE PROPHETIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GALILEAN MINISTRY
Galilee may be just another geographical district in the land of Israel. However, Galilee in particular was of some significance, at least where Biblical prophecy is concerned. Matthew selected the text from Isaiah and drew our attention to the fact that the Galilean ministry was in fact anticipated prophetically!
Let us take time to ponder the prophetic significance of Jesus choosing Capernaum in Galilee as His area of ministry.
1. A New Sense of Hope
There was a time when God lightly esteemed the land of Israel, for its grossly sinful inclinations and activities. God as it were hid His face from Israel. We have an enlightening text in the Book of Ezekiel that helps us to comprehend this solemn truth.
“The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel
went into captivity for their iniquity; because they
were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face
According to their uncleanness and according
to their transgressions I have dealt with them,
and hidden My face from them.”
When Jesus chose to minister in Galilee, He brought a new sense of hope to the region. God was no longer hiding His face from His people. Jesus had chosen Capernaum as His second home town! He ministered as Immanuel – “God with us”. Where there was once upon a time gloom and distress, Jesus brought in the sunshine that dispelled the darkness!
2. A New Beginning
Matthew must have been most conscious of the spiritual conditions in his time. Hence, the reference to Isaiah must be appreciated at a deeper level. There was deep spiritual darkness indeed.
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.”
To a region described as being in the “shadow of death” only “a great light” would be sufficient to dispel the darkness! Jesus was that great light and with His coming, a new beginning was now possible!
A FAMILIAR THEME
Not so long ago, John appeared on the scene and preached a powerful Gospel message, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Thousands flocked to hear John preach this glorious message of hope. As John spoke about how a person may enter into the Kingdom of heaven, he never failed to proclaim the coming of the Messiah!
Jesus was that Messiah John heralded! What was His message? Matthew noted that Jesus picked up the theme of John and thus endorsed what the forerunner had declared.
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say,
‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ ”