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Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry

by Yesudasan Nedumoncave, Philadelphia

Gospel Reading appointed for the first Sunday after Danaho: Matt.4:12-22.

Some thoughts for contemplation.

(1) After the baptism in Jordan under the hands of St. John, the Baptist, Jesus was lead to the wilderness by the Spirit, and when He returned after 40 days of fasting and meditation; found that John was in prison. Then he left Judea and dwelt in Capernaum, a coastal town of Galilee, leaving Nazareth. Seemingly it was an escape from Herod who imprisoned the Baptist. The evangelist quotes it as fulfillment of prophecy in Isaiah 9: 1, 2 (v.14, 15, and 16)

(2) Next we see in the text is the beginning of Jesus' preaching. A similarity in this preaching is that this was the same theme of the Baptist's preaching in Matt.3:1.

"From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (v.17); both have been the gospel of repentance.

B.A is the qualification for K.G. To get admitted in K.G. one should have passed B.A. Sounds paradoxical? In other words, to enter the Kingdom of God one should be born again or born above. That is what Jesus told to Nicodemus in John 3: 3-6.

What is Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven? Kingdom of God found in all the places in the Bible, but it is Kingdom of Heaven in Mathew. Without looking in to the variance of critical views, let us understand that one stands for the other. These are also called "Kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13: 43; My Father's Kingdom (Matt. 26: 29); "Kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph. 5: 5); "Kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col. 1: 13)

(3) Another key thought of the text is, Jesus calling His first disciples.

"Now Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men". Then they immediately left their nets and followed Him." (Vv.18- 20) (And also see vv.21, 22)

It seems not accidental that some of Jesus disciples have been fishermen of the Sea of Galilee. We see that they have been fore told.

"It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En-Gedi to En-Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets Their fishes will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many".( Ezekiel 47: 1)

(While I have limitations to explain this passage, compare the "Pure River of water of life" in Revelation 22 with that of Ezekiel; the major difference is that the river in Revelation does not have fishermen; may be for the reason that this river is after completing all the fishing on earth. Enlightened readers and theologians of the forum may please excuse me and ignore it, if I am wrong)

(4) We find that the gospel of the kingdom of God does not end therein. It only speaks about the beginning. "From that time Jesus began to preach…….."

Mark begins his Gospel, "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God".

But where and when is the end of it? Jesus has told us the end of it: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14)

The first promise of Jesus to his disciples was that they will be made fishers of men. The great commission of Jesus Christ is to continue this fishing of men until the advent of Christ. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations………..I am with you even to the end of the ages" (Matt. 28: 19, 20) Longer the delay to accomplish it, the longer the delay for His return.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. As some count slackness, but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3: 9)

Dear brothers in Christ, let us, therefore, repent today, and spread the gospel of repentance to the world.

See Also:

Repentance, A Golden Key
Kingdom of Heaven/God is the sphere where God reigns, repentance is the acknowledgment of God's rule.

Gospel is about The Kingdom of God
'The Kingdom of God' This is the primary and predominant theme in the Gospel. It was to make a fallen creation aware of this, that the Lord became incarnate.

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