Matthew – Day 13 – Exactly the Right Place
lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.
“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”
On Day 12 we learned that Alexander the Great unknowingly paved the way for Jesus by creating a huge area that shared the same language and the same culture. Jewish people were spread throughout the region and people traveled through regularly for business. The Jewish Bible had been translated into Greek so Jews and non-Jews were able to read it.
On Day 11, we learned that Jesus chose to live in Galilee, which fulfilled prophecy in Isaiah. This was no coincidence. The people of Galilee were the most religious Jews in the world at the time of Jesus. This is different than what most people think. Many people think that Galileans were simple, uneducated peasants who lived in an isolated area. The Galilean people were actually more educated in the Bible and its application than most Jews. More famous Jewish teachers have come from Galilee than anywhere else in the world.
Galilee was not a backwoods region. Every village was built around a synagogue and every synagogue held a Torah closet for scripture. These people were passionate about knowing God’s Word and living out their faith. They were also committed to passing on their faith, knowledge, and lifestyle to their children.
The people of this region interacted more with the world than the Jews of Jerusalem. The international trade route, called the Via Maris or the “Way of the Sea”, ran through this area near Capernaum. Ironically, this fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1 even more specifically than the Messiah living in a region. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would live by “the way to the sea”. (Add this to your prophecy page.)
Israel had always lived in the land that connected great empires. The whole world knew of them because the trade routes passed through their country. As the nations of the world passed by, Israel could obey God’s command and be His witnesses.
Read Isaiah 43:10-13 (out loud).
Here God claims that Israel is His servant and that the Israelites are to be His witnesses to others. He placed them in the perfect place so that they could do what He asked them to do.
Jesus was born, grew up, and spent His ministry among people who knew Scripture by memory, who daily debated its meaning and application in life with enthusiasm, and who loved God with all their hearts, all their souls, and all their might. God prepared this environment carefully so that Jesus would have the exact circumstances that He needed to present His message of the “kingdom of heaven” and His followers could understand the message.
God fit this world together perfectly, and His world fit His mission perfectly. God orchestrated it all.
The area where Jesus conducted His ministry makes a triangle with thee main cities that are about three miles apart: Capernaum, Korazin, and Bethsaida. This has been called the “orthodox” triangle – the so-called “Oxford” of the Jewish world of rabbinic thinking.
The Bible indicates that most of His miracles were performed in these three towns. Jesus chose Capernaum as His home to fulfill the prophecy that the Messiah would live in Galilee by “the way to the sea”. But He also chose this crossroads area for ministry so that people from all around the world could hear His message.
God placed the Israelites in exactly the right place to be His witnesses. God placed Jesus in exactly the right place to be His witness. God has placed you in exactly the right place. Are you being His servant? Are you being His witness?
Ray Vander Laan – That the World May Know