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Galilean Ministry
Bible Passage Matthew 4:12-17
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in books ISAIAH, John, Matthew & .

Galilean Ministry

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached January 19, 2023

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he went back to Galilee.

13 He left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,

14 in order to fulfill what was declared by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

15 “O Land of Zebulun and Land of Naphtali, on the road to the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the unbelievers!

16 The people living in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the land and shadow of death, a light has risen.”

17 From then on, Jesus began to announce, “Repent, because the kingdom from heaven is near!”


Soon, John the Baptist was imprisoned. But Matthew does not explain here why Herod put him in prison. He rather tells the whole story in Matthew 14:3-12. John the Baptist was imprisoned because Herodias wanted it. Herodias had been the wife of Herod’s brother Philip. Then Herod snatched her from brother Philip and married her. John rebuked this act of Herod and he was imprisoned. John was later beheaded. The details of what happened are in Matthew 14:3-12.

John had finished his work. He had prepared the way for the Messiah. So Jesus could begin His own work now.

Jesus meanwhile continued north into Galilee, where the people’s enthusiastic welcome was in sharp contrast to the suspicion of the people in Judea (Matt 4:12-16; John 4:43-45 ). The leaving of Nazareth to Galilee was symbolic such that, He left His own people for the mission of His Father. It was a choice that He had to make. He did it without looking back. So we also sometimes have to make such daunting but beneficial decisions in life in order to be able to move on.

Jesus finds Himself in Galilee. Galilee was not so large: it was 50 miles from North to South, and 25 miles from East to West. But it was densely populated and the land very fertile.
Galilee was a very rich area for crops that it invited even the least of people with an inclination for agriculture.

Josephus lived at that time and wrote history books. He said that there were 204 villages, none with a population of fewer than 15000 inhabitants.

Galilee was an area with many foreigners. There were foreign lands that surrounded Galilee too. So people called it ‘Galilee of the non-Jews’.

Main roads for trade went through Galilee. The people in Galilee were more willing than the people in Judea to believe in new ideas. The people in Judea did not meet many foreigners. So people in Judea were less ready to change their opinions. Therefore, Galilee was an ideal area in which Jesus chose to work.

In the time of Isaiah, soldiers from Assyria attacked the region called Galilee. They caused the people in Galilee to suffer. Galilee was the area of the two tribes, Zebulun and Naphtali. Isaiah’s message promised good things to the people in the future. It was like the sun as it rises after the dark night (Isaiah 9:1-2). Jesus came to Galilee. That proved that Isaiah’s message was true. In the darkness, people cannot see the right way to go. To do wrong is like being in the dark. Jesus came to Galilee like a light. He was like the sun that rises in the morning. He would show people the right way to live. Jesus later described Himself as the ‘light of the world’ (John 9:5).

Jesus brought the same message that John had brought to the people. Jesus spoke with authority. He ordered people to turn from their sins. God’s rule was about to begin. Jesus the king would invite people to choose God’s rule. Jesus pointed out that the kingdom He announced was not for those seeking political or material benefits. It was only for those who humbly and wholeheartedly turned from their sins (Matt 4:17).


🔷 We must leave our comforts and go on the mission to chase our genuine dreams to be successful

🔷 True worshippers and believers also face trouble and persecution

🔷 Those who speak the truth must not stop but also gear up for the consequences of their honesty

🔷 We must turn from our own ways now, and turn to God because tomorrow is not ours.

💥 Pray that you are able to speak the truth always
💥 Ask for wisdom from God and the power to send forth His message

The ministry of Jesus, of which we are partakers is demanding. We must not watch back because of the troubles, but rather look to the harvest ahead of us. Preach to yourself, change and preach the message of truth to others.

In series Bright Morning Reflections