Jesus begins his Public Ministry
We are beginning the Public Ministry of Jesus. He has been baptised in the Jordan by the Baptist and the Spirit came down on him.
Our section today begins with the words : “hearing that John had been arrested Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum”. The implication is that Jesus has left home. He is no longer the boy from Nazareth. He is fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah. He sets up in the “Galilee of the Nations”. He began his preaching with the message, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
Some notes. This message is exactly the same as the Baptist’s. It is word for word. Mark will add: “here is a message that is new and with authority behind it”. The basic call is to ‘metanoia’, repentance. We must turn away from the old ways. This we can do. All else is the grace of God.
Today’s Gospel tells us of Jesus calling his Apostles. Firstly Simon (Peter) and Andrew. The drama in Matthew is succinct. The fishermen were making a cast in the lake. Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. “And they left their nets and followed him at once.”
It is reasonable to believe that Jesus made his home for ministry at Capernaum. Tradition has it that he lived in Peter’s home. We know Peter was a widower and the mother-in-law lived there. It is also reasonable to conclude that Mary stayed in the family home in Nazareth. The two places are close to each other.
Matthew’s theme is Jesus is King and he proclaims the Good News of the Kingdom. His ministry is the curing of diseases and sickness among the people.