GALILEE OF THE GENTILES

Bible Reading: Isaiah 9:1-2 & Matthew 4:12-17

The king of Assyria, Tiglath-pilesser, took Galilee away from Israel in the year 733B.C. The road across Galilee was transformed into a highway for Assyrian caravans, and Galilee itself derisively dubbed “Galilee of the Gentiles.” Through no fault of their own, the Galileans found themselves disdained by their fellow countrymen for dwelling among the heathen, a disdain still evident in the days of our Lord (John 1:46; 7:52).

According to the ancient Prophet Isaiah, Galilee, a place of great distress in his day, would one day be the place from which deliverance would come. This place of darkness would be transformed into a place of light. The light would be unexpected and sudden. It would abruptly flash expelling the darkness and transforming “the land of the shadow of death” into a land of immense illumination.

In fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, the Light of the world launched His wonder-working ministry from Galilee (Matthew 4:12-17). Interestingly, our Lord did not begin His ministry in the celebrated place (Jerusalem) but in the common place (Galilee). It was also the common place rather than the celebrated one where the resurrected Christ first appeared to His disciples (Matthew 28:10; Mark 16:7). Truly, this testifies to us of the probability of encountering Christ more often in the common things of life rather than in the “spectacular.”

The famous poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, understood this tremendous truth. She once penned the following: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes—the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”

Are you one of this earth’s few barefoot observers of burning bushes or are you numbered among the world’s plethora of blackberry pickers?