January 24, 1999

Matthew 4:12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he went to Galilee. But instead of staying in Nazareth, Jesus moved to Capernaum. This town was beside Lake Galilee in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. So God's promise came true, just as the prophet Isaiah had said,
          "Listen, lands of Zebulun and Naphtali,
          lands along the road to the sea and east of the Jordan!
          Listen Galilee, land of the Gentiles!
          Although your people live in darkness, they will see a bright light.
          Although they live in the shadow of death, a light will shine on them."

Then Jesus started preaching "Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here."

     While Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two brothers. One was Simon, also known as Peter, and the other was Andrew. They were fishermen, and they were casting their net into the lake. Jesus said to them, "Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish." Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him.
Jesus walked on until he saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat with their father, mending their nets. Jesus asked them to come with him too. Right away they left the boat and their father and went with Jesus.
     Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the Jewish meeting places and preaching the good news about God's kingdom. He also healed every kind of disease and sickness.


1. One of the great words of hope -- "Although." Although things don't look so bright now, light is on the way. Although the shadow of death seems often so strong, light will shine from the shadow.
     What in your life needs to have the word "Although" attached to it? This is one of the values of community -- we can be reminded about "Although" when we are not up to remembering it on our own.

2. "The kingdom of heaven will soon be here." This is the rallying cry of folks who know about "Although." It changes our vision of what is possible -- fish become people, traditional/biological families become spiritual quest families.
     Here is a gift to start the day which will transform all that follows awakening. Upon arising repeat seven times: "The kingdom of heaven will soon be here." It is not necessary to put an exclamation point there. A simple declarative sentence will suffice. "The kingdom of heaven will soon be here."

3. Good news and healing. These are the two great signs we are asked to have our eyes open for and to offer to others. This is what we are to be learning in our interactions within the Body of Christ, within the church. Often we become discouraged because the very place which is to evidence these signs fights and spats and injures. In the midst of such the Word still comes. May the church continue to hear "Although" and speak "The kingdom of heaven will soon be here."

PS - The phrase "will soon be here" can also be translated "is already here." Does it make a difference for you to use the "will soon be" or the "is already" language? What difference does it make?

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