Jesus is a King like no other, with the divine right to rule your life.

The book of Matthew was written to a Jewish audience to convince readers that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Our passage immediately follows Jesus' coronation (His baptism by John) and His testing by God. Unlike any other king, Jesus performed perfectly under the test. He resisted the tempter, commanded his worship, and finally banished him.

What will the reign of this King be like? Matthew 4:12-25 shows the first three acts of King Jesus which set the tone for His rule.


Jesus Fulfills Biblical Prophecy. (Matthew 4:12-16)

Jesus' geographical move to the land allotted to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali fulfilled a prophecy from Isaiah 9:1-2. He fulfills the prophecies naturally, not because He is intentionally checking off a list, but because of Who He is: the promised Messiah!

Why would Jesus withdraw to the region of Galilee? The historian Josephus tells us that this region of 70 by 40 miles contained 204 cities averaging no fewer than 15,000 people each. King Jesus is interested not in the seats of power, but ministering to individual people.

Isaiah describes this region as "sitting in darkness." They had grown comfortable with moral darkness until it was a permanent state. Jesus came as the Light of the world dawning in the midst of this anxiety-producing reality. A dawn promises that more light is coming!

Unlike God the Father who "dwells in unapproachable light" (1 Timothy 6:16), Jesus could be seen. God became a man so that we could approach and know the Light. Jesus is a "great light" unlike any other. He is able to confront and fix the spiritual and moral problem of humankind by cutting through our rebellion and offering substitutional atonement for our sin.

Jesus dispels the shadow of death. God never intended us to live in darkness. Jesus defeated death in its own country, and He progressively transforms its effects in our lives when He saves us.

Jesus Has Divine Authority to Command the Heart. (Matthew 4:17-22)

King Jesus' first advent was one of humility. The call to become a citizen of His Kingdom is a call to repent. The Kingdom was at hand because the King was in our midst! But the people of Israel rejected His rule, and the kingdom is now delayed. Our message in the church age is one of forgiveness through the operation of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus calls us to follow Him. The King does not follow us. His Kingdom does not exist to make our lives easier. He called His disciples to be fishers of men and gave the church the same mission (Matthew 28:18-20). We should be interested in discipling individual souls just like Jesus.

Jesus Demonstrated Supernatural Authority Over Sin. (Matthew 4:23-25)

Jesus' constant ministry and interest was not to change the system or challenge the status quo. This belief leads to misappropriated ministry to culture instead of people. Jesus' intent was always individual and supernatural. Transformed individual lives may or may not affect the culture, but that is not the point. The King's primary interest is transforming people from the inside out. He demonstrated His divine power over the effects of sin and death by healing every kind of disease and sickness.

Application Points

  • Do you read the Gospels with a disposition of wonder and excitement?
  • Are you in darkness or confusion? Come to the light of King Jesus! He demonstrated His power over darkness, sin, and death. He offers His substitutionary work freely. Will you trust the all-powerful King Jesus to save you from your sins?
  • Believer, are you interested in ministering to individual souls like Jesus? Are you a fisher of men? God saved you to serve.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Psalm 23:1-6, John 10:11-18 – Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
  • Psalm 104:2, James 1:17, 1 John 1:5 – God is Light.
  • Acts 2:38, 11:18 – The message of the church age is repentance for the forgiveness of sins and enjoyment of eternal life.
  • Zechariah 12:10 – Jesus' second coming will not be rejected.
  • Matthew 9:35-38 – Parallel passage showing Jesus' ministry intent.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Who Is He in Yonder Stall"

Who is He in yonder stall,
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?

'Tis the Lord! oh wondrous story!
'Tis the Lord! the King of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him! crown Him, Lord of all!

Who is He the people bless
For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring
All the sick and sorrowing?

Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?

Lo! at midnight, who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?

Who is He who from the grave
Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He who from His throne
Rules through all the world alone?