Gospels in a Year

Today’s Reading: Matthew 4:12-17

12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee;13 and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Caperna-um by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Today’s Commentary:

Galilee: The uppermost region of Palestine, north of Judea and Samaria. In ancient Israel, Galilee was home to several of the nation’s 12 tribes. After military devastations by the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C. (2 Kings15:29), Galilee was ruled separately from Judea and Samaria for most of its history extending into NT times. While some Jews resided in Galilee when Jesus lived there, many were descendants of the northern tribes of Israel who lived alongside Gentile immigrants.

Even after the NT period, the Jewish Mishnah (A.D. 200) consistently refers to Galileans as “Israelites”, as distinct from southern “Jews” or “Judeans” (cf. 10:5-6; Jn 1:47). Jesus chose Galilee as the place to restore the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24), regather his scattered disciples (26:31-32), and send them on a worldwide mission (28:7, 10, 16-20).