Saturday, October 28, 2023

2023.10.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ Matthew 4:12–25

Read Matthew 4:12–25

Questions from the Scripture text: What did Jesus hear in Matthew 4:12? Where did He go? In Galilee, where did He leave (Matthew 4:13)? Where did He come to dwell? What was the city by? In what regions? Why did He have to move here (Matthew 4:14)? How many parts of Matthew 4:15 (cf. Isaiah 9:1) had been literally, geographically fulfilled? What does this fulfillment from Matthew 4:14 and preaching in Matthew 4:17 imply about the darkness, death, and light in Matthew 4:16? What does Jesus preach and say (Matthew 4:17, cf. Matthew 3:2)? Whom does He see in Matthew 4:18? Doing what? Why? What does He tell them to do (Matthew 4:19)? What does He promise? What do they do (Matthew 4:20)? When? Whom does He see in Matthew 4:21? With whom? Doing what? What does Jesus do? What do they leave (Matthew 4:22)? When? To do what? Where is Jesus going in Matthew 4:23? What was He doing? Where? What did He preach? What did He do to accompany this preaching? What went through where in Matthew 4:24? What did they bring to Him? What did He do? What did multitudes do in Matthew 4:25? From where?

What is the news of the kingdom like? Matthew 4:12–25 looks forward to the morning sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fourteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us the news of the kingdom is good news because the requirement that it demands is given by the great King Himself. 

A people who are in darknessMatthew 4:12-17. The quote from Isaiah 9:1–2 (Matthew 4:14-16) is rather uncomplimentary toward Galilee (Matthew 4:12), Nazareth, and Capernaum (Matthew 4:13). Jesus did not come to the worthy. He came to the unworthy. Jesus did not come to those who walked in light but to those who sat in darkness. Jesus did not come to those who were full of life, but whose region was made up of death-shadow. And so Jesus comes with a message (Matthew 4:17) that is, in part, the same as John’s (cf. Matthew 3:2): “Be converted for the kingdom of heaven approaches.” 

People whom the King uses to acquire subjectsMatthew 4:18-22. Simon, Andrew, James, and John were men doing good honest work. Simon and Andrew cast nets (Matthew 4:18). James and John worked with their father and mended nets (Matthew 4:21). But Jesus comes to call them to do good honest work, not with nets (Matthew 4:20) and boats (Matthew 4:22) but with the Word. Not with their father (Matthew 4:21-22) but with Jesus (Matthew 4:19a, end of Matthew 4:21). The Lord Jesus uses their previous work as a sort of template for their new work (“fishers of men”). It is good, honest work too. He takes those who are lowly and calls them to a task that is noble and great indeed! The lowly can work this task, because it is the great King Himself Who works through them.

The good news that the nature-changing King has comeMatthew 4:23-25. One great difference between Jesus’s message and John’s was that Jesus could say more than that they had to be changed (Matthew 4:17). He could announce the kingdom as gospel, as good news, as glad tidings (Matthew 4:23). He was the mighty One to come, Who gives the new heart by baptizing men with His holy spirit (cf. Matthew 3:11). 

It is this preaching of good news that is primary in Matthew 4:23. But one cannot see a new heart of repentance immediately. Repentant hearts are borne out by repentant lives. So He attested that preaching through something they could see: new health that overcame the sickness and disease that belong to the body of death in the groaning creation (Matthew 4:23b, cf. John 5:36; Acts 10:38; Hebrews 2:4 and Romans 7:24, Romans 8:19–23).

The people may not understand so well about the need for the new heart. But they understand that the King and His kingdom have come. The new kingdom life is for all sorts of conditions (Matthew 4:24). And it is recognized by people from every region (Matthew 4:25). The King has come!

What is Jesus’s kingdom like? What must you be like to enter it? How can this even happen? For whom is He king?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for coming, Yourself, not only to be the Great King, but to give us the new life that is necessary for us to come into the kingdom. Grant unto us to hope in You for new life now in our souls, and life forever that in which we have been perfected in soul and body! For we receive this life from our all-powerful and abundantly merciful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72C “May Waving Grain on Hilltops Thrive” or TPH375 “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus’s Name”

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