Third Sunday After Epiphany

The Pastor's Summary of Matthew 4:12-23

Matthew places the Sermon on the Mount at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, because Matthew emphasizes Jesus' teaching ministry. Chapter 4 prepares us to hear the Sermon on the Mount by emphasizing that Christ has brought us into the light (4:16), by calling us to repentance (4:17), by telling us about the call of the first disciples (4:18-22), and by giving Jesus' teaching ministry precedence over his preaching and healing ministries (4:23). 

Following the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus leaves Nazareth and begins to live in Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. The move has immense significance. For Jesus journey to Galilee, is part and parcel of God's redemptive plan; it is a piece of the fulfillment of the promise expressed centuries earlier by the prophet.

The demand for change takes on particular force in the story that follows the call of the two sets of brothers, Simon and Andrew and James and John (vs. 18-22). Where the gospel of God's reign is preached, people are called to abolute obedience.

The passage concludes with a summary statement of Jesus' activity, following the call of the disciples. He teaches, preaches the gospel of the kingdom of God, and heals all sorts of diseases.