Reading the Word
Matthew 4:12–17 (ESV)
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
on them a light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Understanding and Applying the Word
Jesus’ ministry was focused on moving throughout Israel and preaching. He often attracted large crowds because he was known as a miracle worker and the people wanted to see what he was all about. His message was quite controversial and caused great conflict with many, especially those from the religious establishment. What was his message that was so controversial? It was the message of repentance.
Jesus proclaimed to the masses that they all needed to repent of their sins because God’s kingdom was breaking into the world. Anyone who wanted to be a part of that kingdom needed to repent or they would be judged. Many were offended at such a message because they felt they were already righteous and accepted by God. Others were offended because they believed their ancestry was all they need to be a part of God’s kingdom. After all, they were Jews and descendants of Abraham! Jesus’ message was that only repentance and belief in the Son would save.
Jesus’ message is the same to us today. We too must repent and turn to Jesus to save us from our sins. When we do that, he promises forgiveness and an eternal future in the kingdom of God. This message still offends today, but it also still saves. Will you hear the words of Jesus and turn to him?
**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!
Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.