Daily Word

Jesus’ ministry begins | Matthew 4:12-17

12 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13 He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali,
    beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River,
    in Galilee where so many Gentiles live,
16 the people who sat in darkness
    have seen a great light.
And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow,
    a light has shined.”

17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” 

Matthew 4:12-17 (NLT)

John arrested

John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and the forerunner of Jesus. He called people to repent and pointed them to the coming Messiah. He also baptized Jesus. John was arrested by Herod Antipas (the tetrarch) (20 BC – 39 AD) who was the son of the evil Herod the Great. He was the one who was alive at Jesus’ birth and tried to kill Him. Matthew will tell us more about John’s arrest and martyrdom in chapters 11, 12 and 13.

Jesus’ ministry begins

On the occasion of John’s arrest, Jesus leaves Judea where John was baptizing and returns home to Nazareth. He then heads to Capernaem by the Sea of Galilee – top of the map below. Bottom right is where John Baptized. Middle left is Nazareth. The NLT of v13 “moved” gives the impression He settled there, but He didn’t.

He actually did a lot of traveling. Take a moment to review the map to get an understanding of the lay of the land where Jesus did all His incarnate ministry. Knowing the geographical context of His teaching and ministry will aid your study.


We can never get enough fulfilled prophecies of Jesus. They can really serve to strengthen our trust in the validity of Scripture and trust in the Lord. We’ve seen quite a few of them already. Today’s are from Isaiah 9:1-2. For a fairly exhaustive list of the prophecies about Jesus the Messiah, check this link

Same as John

What message did Jesus preach? It’s the same message as John the Baptist, his forerunner. Repent! (Matthew 3:2) As we’ve stated before when we covered 3:2, this same message applies to people today, including you and I. Picture sin as a wall between us and the Spirit of God. As we leave our sin unconfessed, the Spirit cannot as easily help us with our sinful behavior. We cannot overcome sin’s hold on us. When we confess and repent, the wall comes falling down and gives the Spirit free access to help us. 


  • Spend some time asking the Holy Spirit to reveal your sin to you (Psalm 129:23-24). Be serious about it. Then be quick to confess and repent and receive the immediate forgiveness of the Lord and restoration of relationship (1 John 1:9).
Map of Jesus’ travels. Image from www.conformingtojesus.com/ *

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