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First Sunday After Denaho

Bible Commentary / Bible Study

B.W. Johnson Commentary on Matthew 4:12-22

From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891

12. Now when he heard that John was delivered up. A long period lapses between the temptation and the next event recorded. Matthew does not try to follow the order of events, and he now passes over more than a year. This year had been actively employed. The intervening events are, (1) the return of Jesus from the wilderness to Bethabara, where the first disciples are called (John 1:15-37); (2) the return to Galilee and the miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11); (3) the first passover of the Lord's ministry in Jerusalem and the temple cleansed (John 2:14-25); (4) interview with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21); (5) ministry in Judea (John 4:3); (6) leaves for Galilee, passes through Samaria, conversation at Sychar (John 4:4-42); (7) heals nobleman's son (John 4:46-54); (8) a period of retirement in Galilee, John imprisoned (Matt. 4:12); (9) attends feast in Jerusalem, miracle at pool of Bethesda (John 5); (10) returns to Galilee, April A. D. 28. We thus see that an interval of more than a year elapsed between the temptation and the imprisonment of John. John was thrown into prison because he rebuked Herod (Matt. 14:4; Mark 6:17). Withdrew into Galilee. From prudence (John 4:1). Christ had been teaching in Judea (John 4:2).

13. Leaving Nazareth. Because rejected there (Luke 4:16-30). Dwelt in Capernaum. At that time a city of 30,000 inhabitants on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was one of the chief cities of Galilee, had a synagogue, a Roman garrison, and a customs station, with Matthew as the tax gatherer. It has long since disappeared. It was called "Christ's own city" because he made it an earthly home. It was on the border between the tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali.

14. That it might be fulfilled. Matthew's way of saying: "Thus was fulfilled." The passage quoted is found in Isaiah 9:1, 2.

15. By the way of the sea. The Sea of Galilee is meant.

16. The people. Those of the region just described. Sitting in darkness. In religious ignorance. Saw great light. Christ, the Light of the world. In the teaching of Jesus in the region described by the prophet there was a remarkable fulfillment of the prediction.

17. From that time. Probably from the time of the settlement of Jesus in Capernaum. Jesus began to preach. This is the beginning of the Galilean ministry. And to say, Repent, etc. The [32] message that Jesus now preaches is identical with that of John the Baptist. See Matt. 3:2. He commands repentance, and declares the kingdom of heaven is at hand, not yet come, but near. All is still preparatory. Jesus had not yet declared himself as the Messiah.

18. Walking by the sea of Galilee. So named from the province of Galilee on its western side. It is about thirteen miles long and six miles wide in the widest place. The Jordan runs through it. On its borders Jesus lived, taught, and did most of his miracles. Saw two brethren. These two brethren, Peter and Andrew, were already disciples (John 1:35). Simon was the name of the first until Christ changed it to Cephas, or Peter. Their home was at Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee (John 1:44). They had been John's disciples, but he directed them to Jesus. They were fishers. A humble, but honorable, occupation.

19. Follow me. Already disciples, they were now called to preparation for apostleship.

20. Straightway left their nets. They obeyed at once. Thus Christ ought always to be obeyed. No excuses for delay were offered, or should ever be.

21. Saw other two brethren. James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were fishermen also, are supposed to have been cousins of Jesus, probably were already disciples (John 1:29-42), but were now called to preparation for their great work. In a ship. A small fishing vessel. The Revision says, "boat," which gives the idea. [33]

22. They left their father. At once. They had received a higher call. No earthly preference can excuse a rejection of the call of Christ.

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