AncientPath.net - The Ancient Path, Matthew Chapter 4:13-16 The Land of The Gentiles
 

The Gospel of Matthew
CHAPTER 4:13-16
"Jesus Begins His Public Ministry" - The Land of the Gentiles

and God's Message to Israel

Jim Deering, AncientPath.net
 


 

Jesus Moves to Capernaum

Matthew 4:13-16

4:13 and leaving Nazareth[1], He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulon and Naphtali. 4:14 In order to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

 

4:15 "THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES. 4:16 THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND TO THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT SPRANG UP."

(Isaiah 9:1-2, and part of a dialog that continues through verse 7.)

 

Matthew inserts this quote which, at first glance, seems to be only about the "Light" of Christ among the Gentiles. However, the whole plan of God for Jesus as Messiah is in view in the context of these two verses.

 

From Gleason Archer's Isaiah[2]:

"It was through Isaiah that this part of Jesus' ministry was revealed about 800 years earlier. Isaiah 1:1-12:6 is called "The Volume of Immanuel." There are four movements to this set of verses and our quote comes from the second movement, Isaiah 7:1-9:7, where the "Speedy deliverance Foreshadows the Coming Deliverer."

 

Isaiah 8:1 begins a section that foretells (in Isaiah's time) of the fall of Samaria. You may recall that in Isaiah's time the Nation of Assyria was about to come into power. God gave Isaiah a number of visions that would outline the discipline He would place upon the Northern tribes who were named "Israel" for abandoning their God and wholeheartedly turning to other gods.

 

Isaiah 8:9-15 gives us insight into the mind of God as He challenges the nations of the world to do their best to try to destroy His people of Israel. He tells us that these nations will be the object of great wrath because they willingly seek to destroy God's people.

 

Verses 8:16-22 tell of the returning "remnant" of His people will remain out of that captivity in the land of Samaria.

 

Then Verses 9:1-7 describe the "Light Will Come from God the Redeemer." The portion of the Twelve Tribes which first fell under the foreigner' yoke was the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, the area known as Galilee. It was ravaged by the the armies of Tiglath-Pileser and annexed to the Assyrian Empire in 732 B.C. Yet in the providence of God, it was this very region which was in later times to be visited by the radiant light of Jesus, the Messiah, who made His headquarters in Galilee. The prophet, by inspiration, foresees how God is going to multiply the small nation of those who return from the Babylonian Exile (followed the Assyrian) into a great and mighty people, achieving (under the Maccabees) notable victories on the battlefield. Then beyond that the prophecy extends to the multiplication of Christ's disciples from a little band of 120 to a host of many millions, victoriously extending the frontiers of Christ's spiritual empire over all the earth. Ultimately the final triumph of Armageddon is in view.

 

Matthew's quote (a single verse) would have brought to the minds of His readers the full context of Isaiah's words and the seven major points He was making in them concerning the Messiah.

 

1.     He will be born a Son of God as a human child, rather than appearing full-grown as a heavenly conqueror

2.     He will be born a son of the house of Israel - a Jew

3.     He will be the ultimate ruler of the earth

4.     He will be a wonder or marvel as a counselor, imparting that counsel which alone can save man from eternal doom

5.     He will be God Himself, and specifically God in His aspect as champion in battle

6.     He, as God, will be the Eternal One - both the possessor of eternity and the author of eternal life (Father of eternity)

7.     He is the Prince or Ruler of Peace - bestowing wellbeing of soul, and in the Millennial Kingdom, prosperity and warlessness to the whole world in the age to come. He shall exercise this royal authority upon the throne of David, He will surpass the glory of David. The perfect righteousness of God shall be enforced in His benevolent administration and shall prevail in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven itself. This glorious consummation will be brought to pass by the zeal of the Father on behalf of His beloved Son. To this promise we, equally with the generation of Isaiah, look forward with eager anticipation; for us too it is "the blessed hope" of Christ's appearing.


 

[1] According to Luke Jesus left because they were attempting to kill Him.

[2] Gleason Archer, "Isaiah," The Biblical Expositor, the Holman Company, Phil.

 


2014-12-06