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He Brought Hope and Change


Matthew 4:12-25

About 5 years ago a young senator came on the scene and began his campaign to become president of the United States…and his message was “Hope and Change.”

A little over 2000 years ago Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah came on the scene and He didn’t just preach a message of “Hope and Change”…but He also brought “Hope and Change”…hope and change that was very much needed…and is still needed today.

We have read the passage but I want you to look once again at verses 12-16 because these verses give us some insight on the way things were when Jesus began His ministry.

In verse 12 He hears that John the Baptist has been taken into custody and really this is no surprise.

But there is something more about this verse…the fact that John had been taken into custody gives us in sight about the way things were at the time.

So when Jesus hears of John’s arrest He withdrew into Galilee probably to prevent a pre-mature incident as a result of His increasing popularity.

14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,  15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, And to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,  Upon them a light dawned.”

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

If these people wanted to get out of the “darkness”…if they wanted to get out of the “shadow of death”…it they wanted to get out from under the physical and spiritual oppression…if they wanted to the decadence and moral corruption…they were going to have to “Repent!”

If your society…if your culture…if your nation…if your home…if your own life is sitting in darkness…if you want change…if you want to get out of the shadow of death…it starts with the people…it starts with self…making the change.

And people often say, “It is too hard!”

Jesus’ message though was uncompromising…the need to change was a certainty…as painful as it is if you want to get out of the “shadow of death” you must change.

And to get His message of “Change and Hope” out…Jesus calls some men to help…vs. 18:

And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  20 And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him. 21 And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 And they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

And to show the people that He had the power to bring them out of darkness…and out of the shadow of death…look at what Jesus does starting in verse 23:

And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel (good news) of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 24 And the news about Him went out into all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, taken with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. 25 And great multitudes followed Him from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

And now look at chapter 5:1-12. Speaking to the same crowds mentioned in the previous verses the passage says:

5:1 And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying,

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12 “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

When Jesus came and began His ministry it was not a time of happiness.

And in that setting Jesus’ message was that blessings and happiness were not far from reach.

The message is no different today!