Our first full day of touring included some really remarkable moments in the life of Jesus in, around, and even on the Sea of Galilee.
Just after Jesus was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist, Jesus endured 40 days of fasting in the dessert and overcame all the temptations he faced. The voice of darkness tried to distract Jesus from His mission. Jesus was tempted to do the following:
- Make bread out of stones to relieve his own hunger.
- Jump from a pinnacle and rely on angels to break his fall.
- Worship the darkness in return for all the kingdoms of the world.
Jesus refused to be a part of the darkness.
Jesus knew His calling was to bring the Light and be The Light.
Jesus resisted the temptations by quoting Scriptures from Deuteronomy.
In addition to being a carpenter, Jesus for years must have been studying and memorizing the Scriptures so He would be ready for this moment, and He was ready.
After this victorious moment, Luke 4:14-15 tells us that “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.”
All that study was paying off!
That is until he went back to his hometown of Nazareth. His first message to his hometown synagogue did not go well at all. The people were offended. He read from the scroll of Isaiah about fulfilling the following:
- having the Spirit of the Lord
- being anointed
- proclaiming good news to the poor
- proclaiming freedom for prisoners and the oppressed
- giving sight to the blind
- proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor
When he went on to talk of examples of serving people outside of Nazareth and even Gentiles, the people were enraged to the point of forcing him out of town and even trying to throw him off of a cliff.
Jesus goes on to fulfill not only the passage he read in Nazareth, but He also fulfilled what was written by the prophet Isaiah.
Matthew tells us…
“Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” – Matthew 4:13-17
A great light had arrived in the midst of so much darkness! The people of Israel had enjoyed their glory days 1000 years before, and now they were oppressed by the Romans.
Jesus’ message of hope and the miraculous times he healed people really captured the heart of the people.
Jesus met the physical needs of those around him AND their spiritual needs.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases…. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. – Matthew 4:23-25
Nazareth may have rejected him, but just about everyone else in the area were very interested.
In fact, some had dropped everything to follow him. These fishermen had become disciples.
One of those crowds that gathered heard a message that has brought spiritual freedom to countless people and even political freedom through the work of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jesus shared his Sermon on the Mount.
Perhaps in this very field, Jesus shared thoughts that all of the Western World knows, ideas like:
- “Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God.”
- “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
- “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
- “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
- “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. or everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
And this was only the beginning….
Apply this to your own life. Are you stuck in Nazareth when you should be in Galilee?
Consider the following:
- Have you found your calling or your mission?
- If so, was it well received by those closest to you? Did they affirm this for you?
- If not well received, are you sure this is your mission?
- If not well received, are you giving up too easily?
- If not well received, is it possible you still need to find those who really need what you have to offer?
- If you haven’t found your calling or mission, what physical needs and/or spiritual needs can you see around you already where you can get involved?