Matthew 4 continues with Jesus hearing that John had been imprisoned and Jesus returning to Galilee. I never realized this area was inhabited by Gentiles (non-Jewish people) until I was studying this passage the other day. Matthew claims this was a fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1,2 when he quotes,
15"Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, along the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned."
So are the "people living in darkness" the Gentiles or is this all the world? My Bible notes this passage with Luke 2 and this bit about Simeon. Notice the reference to the Gentiles in verse 32.
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."
Also recall in John 8:12 where Jesus claimed to be the "light of the world." For me this seems Jesus ministry and message was to all people, not just the Jews.
Other observations from this chapter:
1. Like John the Baptist, Jesus preached repentance for the kingdom of heaven was near.
2. Jesus called his first disciples and said he would make them fishers of men. What does this mean? How does one fish for people?
3. Jesus went throughout the region teaching, preaching and healing all sick people who came to him.
4. A great multitude followed him. This sets the stage for the great teachings often referred to as The Sermon on the Mount which follows in the next three chapters.
Any thoughts or questions?