Our scripture this week is Matthew 4:12-23.
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 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.” As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
Jesus begins His public ministry with words that we have heard before “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near”. John had preached repentance as the way to be ready for the coming of the Lord, and now Jesus continues this teaching as the way to prepare for the coming of God’s kingdom. As the scripture tells us “on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned”.
Jesus began to gather friends to follow Him and be part of the kingdom work God had called them to accomplish. From the very beginning God said “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18), knowing that humans needed to be with other humans for support and companionship. We were created to be in relationship with God and each other.
Jesus came as one of us so that we could associate with Him as we do each other and learn more easily what God intends for us. Jesus came as our teacher and our savior, but also as our brother, a human example for us. We need to stay close to Him in this connection God has given us, that we may bring others into His love and care.
Gracious God, we are thankful for the gift of Jesus who came to be with us and show us Your love. Help us to share His presence with all people everywhere that they may connect with Him as well. Amen.