Nothin But Fine logo color

Building a Ministry | Matthew 4

Jesus makes Capernaum his home base.

This week we are going to finish up Matthew 4. Listen along to the episode here or on your favorite podcast app

[4:15] Matthew is not a chronological book.  I think this is important to have in the back of your mind.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the synoptic gospels and pretty much have the same outline in the same order.  John is chronological.  I have just learned this fact.  I have no idea why I haven’t looked this up before.  

[6:04] When Matthew says in 4:12 “when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee” it was not actually right after his baptism and temptation in the desert.  There was a time when Jesus and John were both preaching.  And they had the same message:  Repent!  The Kingdom of heaven is near.  John was also saying that Jesus was the one.  

[9:35] Jesus tried to go back to Nazareth, but he was not received as anything other than Joseph’s son who was a carpenter.  Jesus says in John 4:44 that “a prophet has no honor in his own country”.  That’s understandable, right?  I get that the folks of Nazareth just saw him as the neighbors’ eldest son.  I mean they had known him as such for 30 years.  By design his true identity had not been shared.  That had to be done in God’s time.  

[11:45] So, Jesus made Capernaum his home base.  

Capernaum was a town located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 680 feet below sea level.  It existed since Hasmonean times and was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilee region.  The population in the first century is estimated to be around 1,500.  In modern times the site was discovered in 1838 by the American explorer E. Robinson, and major excavations began in 1905 by German archaeologists H.Kohl and C. Watzinger.  Not until 1968, however, were remains from the time of Jesus visible; in that year V. Corbo and S. Loffreda began a series of annual archaeological campaigns that lasted until 1985.  This work uncovered what is thought to be the house of Simon Peter as well as ruins of the first century synagogue beneath the later synagogue from the fourth or fifth century.

NET Bible notes on Matthew

I visited there in 2019 and in this spot my life changed.  My relationship with the Lord changed forever.  When you enter the site you can feel the weight of the Holy Spirit.  Indeed, it is a place that is heavy with meaning.  Rightfully so.  Here is where all the great miracles and messages came from  Here is where Jesus rested between his public speaking engagements.  Where he was refreshed after healing all kinds of ailments. Matthew adds in a prophecy from Isaiah 9:1, like he does, “he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan”.  Important to also note that this area was inhabited with Gentiles.  We just keep getting little clues that Jesus is for everyone.  

[18:28] The next few verses show us the calling of the first disciples.  I like the way John writes it better, but we are not studying John.  These men likely already were acquainted with who Jesus was.  This was just the formal invitation to go with him.  I read in several places that the attributes of fishermen would have been appealing to Jesus and made them well suited to get his message out.  They were used to long hours and frequent need to change course if things weren’t going as planned.  For instance, they knew there were fish in the Sea of Galilee, but they didn’t always catch any.  Such is the nature of evangelism.  

I imagine there were way more miracles and messages performed and given than we get to read about.  The last of chapter 4 gives a vague description of what Jesus was up to.  The sermon on the mount is the next few chapters and what a joy it is to dig into those with you all!

References and Mentions:

Nothin' But Fine Blog

Read more from Nothin' But Fine