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Why Did Jesus Spend So Much Time in Galilee? (Mark 1:14)
The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of his public ministry. After spending 30 years in Nazareth, he went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9). Immediately after his baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert, fasting and resisting Satan’s temptations.
When John the Baptist was imprisoned, Jesus returned to Galilee and began to preach the good news (“good news” of the kingdom) of the kingdom (Mark 1:14). His message is straightforward and is described in a nutshell as, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
I am interested in the fact that Jesus returned to Galilee to begin his preaching ministry. Why not stay in southern Israel? Why not spend his time where most people were – in Jerusalem, the political and religious capital of Israel.
There are three reasons why Jesus returned to Galilee.
1. Fulfillment of prophecy.
Matthew, a converted tax collector, made good use of many Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. He said that when Jesus returned to Galilee, he began a journey to Nazareth, his hometown. But apparently he did not stay in Nazareth for a long time: “He left Nazareth and went to Capernaum to live by the sea (Sea of Galilee) in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali” (Matthew 4:13). And why is Jesus going to Capernao?” Answer: “To fulfill what was said in Isaiah the prophet.” (Matthew 4:14) Then Matthew took the words of Isaiah 9:1-2, which says that one day God will glorify the region of Galilee. and the presence of the Messiah, the region that the Jews of the south hated because of the number of people of other nations who lived there.
It will be in “Galilee of the Gentiles” when “those who live in darkness will see a great light, but for those who live in the land of the shadow of death, light has dawned on them.” (Matthew 4:16) It will be very dark. Jesus said that he was “the light of the world” (John 8:12). And 700 years before he came, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus the Messiah would shine his light in Galilee.
2. Finding his disciples.
The second reason why he started his ministry in Galilee is that Jesus had the intention of training a small group of his disciples to continue his work after his death. He knew he was on the divine plan – three years of public ministry followed by his death, resurrection and ascension. When you think about it, that’s really not a lot of time, humanly speaking. And he knew that it would be important to spend as much time as possible in those three short years with the men he himself had trained to continue what he had started.
Where would they find people who would qualify for such a job? In Capernao, where there were four fishermen working. Peter and Andrew, James and John – two groups of brothers who spent their days fishing together on the Sea of Galilee – these ordinary workers were to be the inner group of men whom Christ chose to be his apostles.
Jesus had already been with three of these four fishermen near the Jordan River. These men were disciples of John the Baptist and the forerunner of Jesus introduced them to Jesus. The book of John the Apostle tells us about this encounter (see John 1:35-42).
So I think that Jesus came to Capernao to find these four fishermen and invite them to the regular service, which he is doing in Mark 1:16-20.
3. Emphasizing the goal of the whole world of the Gospel.
Yes, Jesus was the Messiah, the King of the Jews. But he was also King of kings and Lord of lords. He did not come to save his people Israel, but all people. He is calling men, women and children of all nations to follow him. The gospel is for everyone, Jew and Gentile. And living in “Galilee of the Gentiles” shows us the global purpose of Jesus’ work to seek and save the lost of every language.
In all the stories of the Gospel we see Jesus speaking to all kinds of people – the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the righteous and the unrighteous. He came to offer salvation to all by giving his life on the cross “as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). After the resurrection, his farewell words to the disciples were to continue this work by preaching the good news “to all creation” (Mark 16:15) and making disciples of “all nations” (Matthew 28:19). So we must continue to do what Jesus clearly showed in Galilee – as our Lord, we must preach the good news to all people, Jews and Gentiles.
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