A Strange and Glorious Move
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: The early days of Jesus’ ministry were filled with unexpected twists, starting with the location of his “home base.” Certainly, had Jesus consulted a church-growth specialist concerning the most strategic launching point for an effective ministry in Israel, he would’ve heard: “Go immediately to Jerusalem, the center of political and cultural influence. Whatever you do, don’t go the backwaters of Galilee, where the uneducated and depraved live.” But Jesus “withdrew to Galilee” (verse 12) with a very specific purpose.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. Immediately after Jesus heard of John the Baptist’s arrest, he went to Galilee. Why?
2. If a person is saved by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 4:5), why do both Jesus and the Baptizer begin their messages with the command to “repent” (verse 17) rather than believe?
3. Why is the concept of grace unsettling? Why does the news that salvation is a gift, rather than something we can earn, so disturb our justice-demanding equilibrium?
4. In what specific ways are you presently comforted by God’s grace?
5. Jesus tells four professional fishermen that he will make them something they weren’t before. Where have you seen God’s transforming power on display in your own life?
6. Why did Jesus attract such big crowds? Why did the masses so quickly desert him?
1. Read Matthew 4:12-16
2. “It is commonly assumed that ‘the Jews’ were an undifferentiated community living amicably in the part of the world we now call ‘the Holy Land’ united in their resentment of the political imposition of Roman rule to which all were equally subject, but this is a gross distortion of the historical and cultural reality.” – R.T. France
3. 01. God’s grace always flows downward, to the most unlikely and undeserving of sinners.
4. Read Matthew 4:17
5. Read Matthew 4:18-22
6. “God always gets his way in the matter of our conversion, not because of his raw power, forcing us against our will, but because he effectually persuades us and, in changing our will, gives us a desire for him.” – Michael Horton
7. 02. Jesus doesn’t simply change what we do, he radically transforms who we are.
8. Read Matthew 4:23-25
9. 03. In Christ, God invites people, from every race, background, and religion, “Come to me to be made whole.”