TEXT: Matthew 4:12-17:
12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
After preaching the Gospel every day for 367 days straight throughout the 2016 presidential campaign season, I am preaching the Gospel every day throughout the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s term. If you think a new president being in office is the only thing needed to save America and ‘make America great again’, you are woefully deceived. The church must follow through and “keep the main thing the main thing: and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to ‘pray without ceasing’ for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders.” So, we encourage you to pray for the new president, but not to get caught up in the political happenings like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord. And that is what this campaign is all about.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 94, day 461 since Jan. 1, 2016.
A.W. Tozer said, “The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”
After relating Jesus’ triumph over Satan’s temptations, Matthew begins to describe the early movement of Jesus’s ministry. We know from the book of John that, immediately after Jesus’ wilderness experience, He returned to the region of the Jordan River in Judea where He preached the message of repentance and the kingdom of God. But, because Matthew organizes his gospel topically rather than chronologically, he does not include that time here. Rather, he picks up right after “Jesus had heard that John [the Baptist] was cast into prison.” It was at this time that Jesus “departed” from Judea and went “into Galilee.”
Everything that Jesus did was directed by His Heavenly Father, and this move to Galilee was no different. Craig S. Keener describes it as a part of Jesus’ “mission strategy” which would bring about greater exposure for His message. Once in Galilee, Jesus didn’t return to His hometown of Nazareth; it was small, and as we have seen, the people there were less receptive to His teaching. Instead, Jesus went to Capernaum, a city with a greater population and greater importance to the regional trade and economy. From there, the news that the kingdom of Heaven had come would spread faster. Later rabbinical writings referred to Capernaum as a hotbed of “schismatics,” presumably a derogatory reference to followers of Christ.
Although Matthew focuses on presenting Jesus as the “King of the Jews,” he also recognizes that Jesus ultimately came with a message for all people. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, Matthew says that Jesus went into “Galilee of the Gentiles.” Much of Jesus’ ministry occurred in this region where the people were not as “ethnically pure” as the Jews of Judea. Greeks and other foreigners had moved into Galilee, and some intermarriage had taken place. The Jews of Judea viewed the Galileans with disdain, and later used their prejudice to try to undermine Jesus’ ministry. By quoting Isaiah, Matthew is saying to the Jews, ‘Yes, Jesus came for you, but He came for the Gentiles too.’
Jesus’ movement to Galilee further fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy: “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” The Jews of that time likely thought of their darkness as only political: the glory days of Israel were gone and they were under the control of a pagan government that only tolerated their way of worship. But, Jesus was more concerned about the spiritual darkness in which the people sat. Interestingly, the original prophecy from Isaiah says that the people were “walking in darkness.” But Matthew says they were “sitting in darkness.” The people were not even looking for the light; perhaps, they didn’t even know they were in darkness. But Jesus brought the light to them so that they could be saved.
Bernard Barton wrote:
Walk in the light, and thou shalt know
That fellowship of love
This love His Spirit alone can bestow,
From where He reigns above.
Walk in the light, and thou shalt find
Thy heart made truly His;
Who dwells in cloudless light enshrined,
In whom no darkness is.
Walk in the light, and sin abhorred
Shall never defile again;
The blood of Jesus Christ the Lord
Shall cleanse from every stain.
Just as Jesus brought light to the Gentiles of Galilee, He has brought the light to you. You need only open your eyes to it, see by it, and receive what it reveals. If you are ready to place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, allow me to show you how:
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.