(NIV)Jesus Begins to Preach
12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned."
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
Just a thought...
In Israel, Jews and gentiles alike were living in darkness. Christ came to a place where there were both, Capernaum, and made it his home. Matthew says that he does this to bring light to those living in darkness. Using the words of a prophet, this passage begin to suggests that the light Jesus offers is one that gives everlasting life.
John is said to be one who was to bear witness to "the light." but he isn't the light itself. Jesus is the light. Matthew, in repeating the words of the prophet and connecting the beginning of Jesus’s public teaching to the ending of John the Baptist’s, tries to show that these things were all part of a plan that God had set in motion in Old Testament Times. Matthew's story, makes it clear that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Israel. With Jesus the kingdom of heaven is available for everyone. The words used, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand," are the same words that John the Baptist used. Jesus had taken up the torch and started the last leg of the journey that was only to end with the final act of God to complete our salvation. That salvation is the light that can save us from our own darkness, even the darkness of death.
Heavenly Father, We thank you for making that gift a light that we can see shining in darkness, so that we always have hope and know the direction our journey should take. Amen.