Sunday, February 18, 2018

Matthew - Our Lord's Public Ministry

Today we take a look at Matthew 4:12-16 and the beginning of the ministry of our Lord after the temptation and discuss the prophetical significance.

Jesus Moves to Capernaum
Remember when I introduced the book that I mentioned that the first three gospels have been labeled as the Synoptic Gospels. Synoptic means “seeing together". There is a structure found among Matthew, Mark, and Luke in their presentations of the ministry of Jesus. They all have what is called a “geographic sequence” in that they all focus on our Lord’s ministry in Galilee, his withdrawal to the North, his ministry in Judea on his way back to Jerusalem and final ministry there. This sequence is not found at all in the John (e.g., the sending out of the twelve, the transfiguration, the Olivet Discourse and the Last Supper are not found in John either). Now we see the retreat north.

This passage appears to be a simple prophecy concerning Jesus’ change of address after entering his earthly ministry. However, there is more to this prophecy than that. 

There are four things that I want you to notice today. 

First, Prophecy Fulfilled
There are 48 prophecies relating to the first coming of Jesus that was fulfilled when he was here. They ranged from his virgin birth in Bethlehem, he would be from the tribe of Judah, in the line of David, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, and crucified between thieves. There are even prophecies of his burial, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation.

Their Significance
The significance of these fulfilled prophecies is immense as that they prove that the Bible is not just a book written by men. It is a divine book. 2 Tim 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: The Bible is the only religious book in the world that contains prophecy!

According to the “The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy” by J. Barton Payne, there are 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament for a total of 1,817. These prophecies are contained in 8,352 of the Bible’s verses. Since there are 31,124 verses in the Bible, the 8,352 verses that contain prophecy constitute 26.8 percent of the Bible’s volume. The Bible is a book of prophecy.

Second, the Salvation of the Gentiles
Second, this particular prophecy reveals that, although the earthly ministry of Jesus was aimed at Israel (Matt. 15:24 “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”), Gentiles were ultimately going to be saved, as well (v.15).

Paul, when writing to the Romans, quoted several Old Testament passages dealing with the salvation of Gentiles (Romans 15:8-12).

Third, the Marvelous Light
Third, this prophecy has a great spiritual application for us. Verse 16 says, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light." When Jesus came to the world, he was the light of men that shined in the darkness of this world (John 1:4-5). John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 

Paul told the Ephesians that they wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12).

When we came to Jesus, we came out of that darkness and into his marvelous light and now we are the children of light. 1 Pet. 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Th 5:4-5). 

Fourth, Application to Israel
Fourth, this prophecy has application to Israel during the tribulation period. They will literally be in the shadow of death before the second coming of Jesus. I say this because Matthew quotes this passage from Isa 9:1-7 which in context is in dealing with Israel during the Tribulation Period.

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