[July 09]--Galilee?

Matt. 4:12-17

There’s a reason why God gave us four Gospels instead of just one. While I do believe that each of the Gospels is accurate and can be harmonized with each other, they all have different emphases. Mark presents Jesus as the Ultimate Servant who at the same time displays awesome authority and power. Luke presents him as the Son of Man, and since it was written by a Gentile (the only Gentile writer in the Bible, by the way), he loves to focus on the universality of the gospel. John’s portrait of Jesus is the Son of God who “made his dwelling with us.”

Matthew’s intended audience apparently was Jewish, since he emphasizes Jesus as the King of the Jews who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy. He’s the New Israel, the One who'll accomplish what the old Israel was supposed to do but failed miserably. You’ll notice in today’s passage a phrase often repeated in this Gospel: “to fulfill what was said through the prophet. . .” or some variant.

But the interesting thing here is that in the midst of all this “Jewishness” comes something unexpected. What was Matthew’s point? Jesus spent most of his life in Galilee, and what did Isaiah call it? “Galilee of the Gentiles.” Each of the areas listed in the quote were well-known not only as Jewish-Gentile mixture but was also infamous as being of low reputation morally. This is the area in which Jesus grew up, and it’s the area he chose to live in after his ministry started.

So even in this “Jewish” Gospel, you have evidence of God reaching out to Gentiles. Of course, this climaxes in the last couple of verses of the Gospel, famously known as the “Great Commission.”

So what’s my point here? Just another reminder that as Americans there are segments of the world which we tend to “write off” as being unreachable. There is a whole one-sixth of the population, namely Muslims, which we might think of as not worth the effort. And even if we can’t (or won’t) go to their lands, through the Lord’s providence they’re coming here. Do we see this as just a threat to our way of life, or do we see it as a golden opportunity? Seeing where he chose to live, how do you think our Savior sees it?

Lord Jesus, please open my eyes to the opportunities you’ve put all around me. And when I see them, give me the courage to grab a hold. Please make my heart like yours.

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