Last time,we looked at the preparation for Jesus’ ministry – baptism and the temptation following 40 days of prayer and fasting
I don’t want us to miss the fact that a lot of time was spent in prayer prior to ministry beginning. This was not something taken lightly nor was it something that was done off of the cuff.
This week, I want to continue to look at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew 4:12-25
Jesus is prompted to begin His ministry right where John had been working so diligently to get the message out. John’s message was one of repentance. He was calling them to repent .
There are a few things about this account of the beginning of His ministry that I want us to take note of:
1 – Jesus is fulfilling prophesy. In this scripture, we see that He is fulfilling Isaiah 9:1-2. He is the light. The people are in darkness without Him. But, they have been in darkness so long that they don’t realize that the light is a good thing. They have become accustomed to the dark. The light has to show them where there is a better life – something different. It doesn’t mean that they will instantly want it. We get comfortable. We don’t often want to change. Many times, we don’t see any reason to change – things are just fine the way they are. We don’t realize that there is a better life. When we live in sin, that is what is happening. We have grown so accustomed to the sinful life that it just seems fine. It isn’t until the light of Jesus shines upon us that we realize that the sinful life is NOT where we need or want to be and we change.
2 – Notice Jesus’ message to the people: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
I think that is significant because we don’t often think of this as His message, but John’s. Jesus is going to provide the way of true repentance, but the people have to realize that they are not where they need to be in order to realize they need a Savior. Jesus is telling them to check themselves out because they are not living as they should be. If they were, then He wouldn’t be calling them to repent. I can just imagine how justified the religious leaders must have felt knowing they were the religious leaders. Why should they repent since they are the most religious? Yet, they too are living in darkness with a call to repent.
3 – Jesus begins calling His disciples and multitudes begin to follow…
Jesus is calling Andrew and Peter, James and John. They follow. But, Jesus is also preaching and teaching and healing. Others begin to follow. It says great multitudes from many different regions followed. They are following for what they have seen. But, they are about to learn why He is there and what repentance really looks like. They are about to experience the light and why living in the light is so different from the way they have been living.