Read: Matthew 4:23-25
And he went throughout all Galilee . . . (v. 23)
Matthew 4 and Matthew 9 contain two almost identical passages (compare 4:23-25 and 9:35). Between these bookends is a series of snapshots illustrating the three major elements in Jesus’ public ministry.
First, he preached. He “went throughout all Galilee . . . proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom” (v. 23). That is, Jesus announced publicly the good news that God’s rule had come personally into the world. Second, Jesus taught people how they should live as his disciples. Matthew 5–7 records the heart of the ethical and religious teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Finally, because God’s reign ultimately means an end to all evil and suffering, the stories in Matthew 8 and 9 show Jesus healing the sick, delivering the demon-oppressed, and even taming the unruly forces of nature as signs of the already but not yet kingdom of God.
What stands out here about Jesus’ ministry is its comprehensiveness. Jesus had an all-inclusive approach to meeting physical and spiritual need. And he did it everywhere. Matthew says that Jesus went through all the towns and even the villages teaching, preaching, and healing. He didn’t calculate how big the crowd would be when he preached, or whether his ministry would be adequately publicized. He simply went where there was physical and spiritual need—as should we. —David Bast
As you pray, give thanks that Jesus is willing to come to you.