photo from internet

Ever been confused by strange-sounding places in the Bible, like:

Zebulun and Naphtali?… these are 2 of the 12 tribes of Israel (originally apportioned among the 12 sons of Jacob/ Israel). The lands of these 2 tribes were situated in the north.

Why does Isaiah say these lands were “degraded by the Lord?” Well, it turned out that when the Jews were deported by their Assyrian conquerors, Zebulun and Naphtali were the first to be uprooted… it must have been terrible for the people.

The lands they used to occupy were settled in by pagans.

When the Jews returned and settled again from their exile, the land was now called Galilee, a district populated by a mixture of Jews and foreigners, true believers and pagans, good and bad influences…

The strict Jew would not feel at home in Galilee because it was a place already tainted, no longer pure.

And so Isaiah described Galilee (the former Zebulun and Naphtali) in terms of darkness and gloom.

But the reading does not end with a negative note.

Isaiah says: The Lord “degraded” this land but later on “glorified” it.

Here is a prophecy about future restoration… the promise of blessing… the foretelling of a happy ending.

The Messiah will come to dispel the darkness of unbelief and to scatter the gloom of despair among God’s children.

The Messiah will bring light… he will also bring joy… he will bring freedom from the yoke of slavery and defeat.

The Gospel (Mt 4: 12-23) is the fulfillment of the prophecy.

At the opportune moment, Jesus launches his mission in Galilee. Where the Pharisees will not go because the land was impure, Jesus chooses to venture because the time was ripe.

While the Pharisees did not care much about the people of Galilee, Jesus felt “at home” in Galilee.

Galilee, with its sick, ignorant, and sinful people appealed to Jesus because these were the people he truly loves.

Jesus is all that Galilee needs to be restored –  now they have seen Light, Joy, Freedom!

Maybe you too have an experience similar to the Galileans:

Have you ever felt that you were somehow excluded

               From the party invitation last Christmas

               From the planning seminar for the next program

               From the consultation process in your office

               From the decision-making in your family or group of friends?

Have you ever noticed how people avoid you

               When you give your opinion

               When you speak the truth honestly

               When you correct their faults

               When you commit a fault or sin?

Well, Jesus comes to Galilee, and to you…

               With open arms

               With a loving heart

               With forgiveness and mercy

               With sincere desire to listen to you, touch your pain, wash away your sins

Just because he loves you and want to bring you back into the fold of the Kingdom of his Father.

Take a moment to welcome Jesus in the Galilee of your life today…

(Pls share with a friend…)