NT Connect: Matthew 4:12-23
Weekly Reading: Isaiah 7-12
People Walking in Darkness
The Gospel writers, and especially Matthew, who is commonly noted to have been writing for a Jewish audience, saw Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of the story for Israel. Over and over again, Matthew shows how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament. He teaches that Jesus is Israel’s true messiah and that his actions fulfilled the great prophecies of the Old Testament regarding Israel’s Davidic King.
Matthew 4:16-17 draws attention to the importance of Jesus being seen as fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah:
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” (Matthew 4:16-17 NIV).
Matthew makes the words of Isaiah come alive in the life of Jesus. He says that Jesus is the light that has come into the darkness. Now because of Jesus a “light has dawned.”
Jesus preached a message that calls for a response: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” He challenges us to rethink everything that we once thought we knew about God, turn from our idols, and know that God is here. This amazing good news changes the world.
Here is the question: When Jesus calls, will you follow Him? Really follow Him? \
In the following verses (Matthew 4:18-22), Matthew tells us that Jesus immediately began calling disciples to follow him and that he would make them “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). What we sometimes miss in this familiar story of the calling of the disciples is that what exactly Jesus was asking of them. When Jesus asks these fisherman in Matthew 4 to, “Follow me,” he is not only asking them to physically stop what they are doing and walk with him, but he is also asking them to learn a new way of life from him. This would mean for them to allow Jesus to be their Rabbi.
To be a true follower of Jesus, to be his disciple, is to submit to him as our life-altering teacher and as our king. We must actually believe what he says and put what he says into practice to truly be called a “follower” of Jesus. When we give up control of our lives to him and allow the teachings and person of Jesus to control what we do, where we go, what we think, and what we say – only then are we answering the call of Christ to be his disciple, and it is then that we can follow Jesus into a miraculous world called the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23).