Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part VIII: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Fulfillment Of Isaiah 9:1-2 In Withdrawing From Persecution
(Matthew 4:12-17)
  1. Introduction
    1. Isaiah 9:1-2 predicted seven hundred years before the time of Christ that people sitting in spiritual darkness in the lands of Zebulun and of Naphtali would see a Great Light.
    2. This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus due to His withdrawal from persecution pressure in Matthew 4:12-17, and it provides not only proof of His identity, but a lesson for us on persecution (as follows):
  2. Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Fulfillment Of Isaiah 9:1-2 In Withdrawing From Persecution.
    1. Matthew 4:12-13 reports after John the Baptizer was imprisoned [for his ministry, Mark 6:17-18], Jesus "took refuge in withdrawing" (anachoreo, U. B. S. Greek N. T. , 1966, p. 9; Moulton & Milligan, The Vocab. of the Greek N. T., 1972, p. 40) into Galilee, moving from His home in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23) to Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV , 1978, map 12, "The Ministry of Jesus."
    2. This movement, necessitated by persecution pressure, fulfilled Isaiah 9:1-2 according to Matthew 4:14-16:
      1. Nazareth is located in the Hebrew tribal territory of Zebulun while Capernaum is situated in the tribal territory of Naphtali, Ibid., Ryrie, map 4, "The Twelve Tribes of Israel."
      2. Well, Isaiah 9:1-2 predicted that though God had allowed the tribal territories of Zebulun and of Naphtali in the Assyrian conquest and control of that region in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, at which time Assyria's king Tiglath-Pileser III had made it an Assyrian province so that it was called "Galilee of the nations" (Bible Know. Com. O. T., p. 1052), Hebrews of those tribal lands who walked in spiritual darkness described in Isaiah 8:20-22 would see a Great Light, that it would shine on them.
      3. Accordingly, Jesus' move under persecution pressure from Nazareth in the tribal land of Zebulun to Capernaum in the tribal land of Naphtali of "Galilee of the nations" fulfilled Isaiah 9:1-2: it predicted that He as God's "Great Light" would shine upon and illumine with God's truth the Hebrews of that needy place described as the region of "the shadow of death," Matthew 4:16 with Isaiah 9:2b!
    3. At that time, Jesus began to let His "Great Light" shine, preaching for the people of the region to repent as the kingdom of heaven was near, Matthew 4:17.
    4. This kingdom of heaven presentation is clarified in the Isaiah 9 context to be the Messianic Kingdom of God in which the Messiah, Jesus, is also God Incarnate (as follows):
      1. The "Great Light" of Isaiah 9:1-2 is described in Isaiah 9:6 as a child Who is born and a Son Who is given to Israel, that His identity is Supernatural Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6a,c. This implies the "Great Light" is God Incarnate, God come in the flesh.
      2. Furthermore, this God Incarnate would bear the government on His shoulder as Ruler, Isaiah 9:6b.
      3. His government and its peace would experience no end when He ruled on the throne of David over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness forever, Isaiah 9:7.
    5. Remarkably, however, though Jesus is the Great Messianic King and God Incarnate set to rule on David's throne forever with peace, in Isaiah 9:1-2 according to its fulfillment in Matthew 4:12-16, He was not then set to counter or to defeat the evil secular ruler who had imprisoned John the Baptizer (Mark 6:17-18), but He would rule the world at later time, a major theme on the postponed Messianic Kingdom in Matthew's Gospel! (Ibid., Ryrie, p. 1337, "Introduction to the Gospel According to Matthew")
Lesson: Jesus is the "Great Light" and Messiah and God Incarnate Who fulfilled Isaiah 9:1-2 by moving from Nazareth in the tribal region of Zebulun to Capernaum in the tribal region of Naphtali at the start of His earthly ministry. This move was necessitated by persecution since Jesus in His first coming was not sent by the Father to conquer the nations, but to face the cross before the crown.

Application: (1) May we trust in Christ as Savior in noting His fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1-2 as the "Great Light" to Zebulun and Naphtali. (2) Since we must follow in Christ's footsteps in our earthly sojourn (1 Peter 2:21-23), may we like Him meekly draw back from persecution pressure, not trying to confront it, trusting that doing so is in God's will as it was in Christ's life toward the fulfilling of Isaiah 9:1-2.