Matthew 4:12-5:12 – February 25
Our online study in the Gospel of Matthew will last 6 weeks and is intended to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection on Easter. Read today’s scripture, journal on it using SOAP, then please share as we encourage one another in this one thing. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.
Jesus Begins to Preach
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 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.”
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus Heals the Sick
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
Matthew 5 – Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Why Fishermen? | Becky Newman
Jesus heads to Galilee, fulfilling some more prophecy, and then calls four fishermen to be his closest associates in his ministry. In John, it looks like he picks seven fishermen — that’s over half of the apostles. What’s so special about fishermen? Since this was a lake region, was that all he had to pick from? Was he thinking that he had this really cool phrase to use, he just needed some fishermen to use it — “Come, follow me. I will make you fishers of men”? Did he just really like fish and was bringing them on board so that he could eat well while he healed the sick and taught the masses? I know God orchestrates everything, so I know there’s a reason Jesus chose so many fishermen to begin the spread of his ministry to the ends of the earth. And I know someone, somewhere has done a sermon on this; just Google it. These days, and in Nebraska, we associate fishing with almost a lazy past-time, floating in a boat under the sun all day waiting for the one fish that may bite. My research is showing me that back then and where there’s water with fish, fishermen were busy, hard-working, patient, diligent, faithful, hopeful, and persevering. Those seem like some pretty good qualities comprising the men God set apart to walk with Jesus and launch the Christian faith.
I am no good at fishing and can not match up with the qualities the closest friends of Jesus had. But God can use my talents and character for His glory too. Maybe His call to me is: Come follow me. I will make you a scientist of My Word and My creation. I just have to be ready to leave my nets and follow Him when He calls.
God, thank You for the talents, character traits, and interests You have given me. I’ve seen several areas where You have lined them up for Your glory. Help me to leave behind whatever it is I need to leave behind and follow You!
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.