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Matthew chapter 4:12 begins Jesus' public ministry! Verse 17 is of note: "From then on, Jesus began to preach, "Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near."" You'll note that Jesus is echoing earlier words of John the Baptist - turn from your sins - repent. The message is obviously of utmost importance - then and now. And then you'll see several times in the gospel of Matthew the term "the Kingdom of Heaven." You'll later see in Mark and Luke's gospel's a similar term, "the Kingdom of God." They basically mean the same thing - but Matthew was using the term "Heaven" instead of "God" because he was writing for a Jewish audience, which did not like to verbalize God's name (out of respect). Per Zondervan's NIV Study Bible, the Kingdom of Heaven is essentially brought about through the ministry of Jesus and those that have faith in Him - the establishment of God's rule in the hearts of people, the overcoming of evil, the removal of the consequences of sin, and a new order of peace. The idea of God's kingdom is mentioned nearly 50 times in the gospel of Matthew. How have you seen God’s Kingdom manifested in your life? How have you seen that the Kingdom of heaven is near? What does repent meant to you? Is repentance a one time thing or an ongoing thing our lives?
Verses 18 through 20 is something that I think all of us should reflect upon in our own lives: "One day as Jesus was walking along the shore beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers--Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew--fishing with a net, for they were commercial fishermen. Jesus called out to them, "Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!" And they left their nets at once and went with him." What would you do if you were at work today or tomorrow and Jesus came to you and said - "Come, be my disciple, and I will show you how to fish for people!" Like Peter and Andrew, would you go at once with Jesus? This is not an easy question for us to answer. But I think it is worth asking. I have a great friend who indeed felt the call of Jesus to leave his very nicely paid architect job in the U.S. and to become a missionary architect in Asia - building primarily hospitals for communities that need them. The point of this passage I think is this - Jesus is indeed calling each one of us to follow Him. We may not need to leave our jobs. (But some of us may...) The call may entail leaving some of our luxurious ways or lazy behaviors behind to truly follow Him. The call to follow Jesus certainly entails leaving our sinful ways behind. Will you follow Jesus? Has he called you? Do you believe he is calling you now? Will you go at once and follow His Call?
Verse 23 nicely encapsulates Jesus' 3 main ministries that we will see over and over again in the gospels - 1. teaching, 2. preaching, and 3. healing. "Jesus traveled throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching everywhere the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease." Will you allow Jesus to teach you this year? Will you even allow Jesus to preach to you this year? And, this may be the toughest to surrender to - will you allow Jesus to heal you this year? My friends, we all need some healing from Jesus!
Bible.org's commentary on our readings today in Matthew titled "The Commencement of Jesus' Ministry" is at this link.
Worship Video: Reading about Jesus calling the disciples in Matthew 4 today reminded me of the song “I Still Believe” by Jeremy Camp: (which is a great movie too!)
Do you Believe? Click here for Belief!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today:"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19 NIV
Prayer Point: Based on Matthew 4:19 above, pray to Jesus about any ways He may specifically be calling you to follow Him in this new year. Pray to Jesus that he would make you a fisher of men and women this year.
Comments from You and Questions of the Day: We read about Jesus calling Peter and Andrew in the Gospel of Matthew today. Do you think Jesus still calls people today? Can you share with everyone in the Comments section below a time in your life when felt that you were called by Jesus? Maybe it was a time when you were called to follow Jesus for the first time or maybe it was a call to love or serve others in a new way for you? Do you think that Jesus is calling you to something new in your life now in this new year? Do you know what Jesus is calling you to do? Will you do it? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Bible Blog ministry today. Thanks!