This study will be closely related to this previous study as it shows what happened after Jesus began to preach in Galilee. If you haven’t read the study in this link, I encourage you to do so before you read this one. It will open your eyes a bit to what this study is saying!
This week we follow the call of Peter, Andrew, James and John as disciples. Jesus is preaching in Galilee and we remember that this was once a region that fiercely obeyed the Law of The Lord, but had since fallen from grace. We read in Matthew 4:23-25: “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”
We see the response that Jesus received to His preaching. People followed Him. They wanted more of what He had to say. They wanted to watch Him do what He did in defiance of the natural laws. They wanted to see Him interact with people. They stood in awe of not only of His message, but of Him. Jesus preached throughout Galilee and His fame spread throughout Syria which was north of Galilee. Crowds followed Him from Galilee, and the Decapolis which was a large region that was southeast of Galilee. Crowds also followed Him from Jerusalem and Judea which were both south of Galilee. Finally, the text says that crowds followed Him from beyond the Jordan River which was an eastern geographic boundary.
Why did Matthew choose to include all of these places? I believe he did so to show just how powerful of a message Jesus proclaimed. When He began preaching in this place people from all surrounding lands came to see Him. They brought their needs to Him and He healed them of their problems. Words can sometimes change meaning over time. The “Gospel” of Jesus Christ is simply “good news” within the Bible, but the word now has become something different by people who are outside the church. It is associated with people who have taken the good news of Jesus and distorted it for their own personal gain. It is associated with people who become judgmental and angry when sharing it.
There is a vast difference between teaching God’s Word that rightly judges and being judgmental yourself. Our world needs to hear this “Gospel” as “good news” once again because it is. It is a fact that we live in a dark and dying world. All we have to do is turn on the television or get on the internet to see this is true today. This truth follows strongly: If a person does not have Jesus, than all they possess is death. This is a great motivator for us to revive the true meaning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Matthew 4:25 – “And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”