This week I was studying the story of the friends who carried their paralyzed friend and lowered him through the roof of a house in order to get him to Jesus (Mk 2 and Mt 9). I came to realize that this wasn’t just any house that had the roof dug through. This was Jesus’ home - in Capernaum. He was the homeowner left with a gaping hole in His ceiling along with a crowd of gaping mouths.
Reading this passage in Matthew brings it together even more for me. After John’s arrest, Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, a town nestled close to the Sea of Galilee. It seems that He may have been trying to keep a lower profile since it was so early in His ministry. Galilee is further north, further away from Jerusalem and the intensity of Roman and temple politics.
What might look like a strategic move to live under the radar was nonetheless a shocking and brilliant blessing to the people of this area. Jesus truly ‘moved into the neighbourhood’! Can you imagine meeting your new neighbour and discovering over time this incredible person who displays mysterious love, power, understanding, healing capacity, and authority you’ve never seen before? The people living in darkness have seen a great light. Matthew clarifies for us that this was not a ‘chance’ move to Galilee but a move that was prophesied hundreds of years ago by Isaiah (9:2). The people of this particular area were destined to receive the presence of the dawning Light.
Verse 17 reads "From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Jesus was consistent in His message. He was bringing the kingdom of God. His actions and words and life of love, power, understanding, healing capacity, and authority were a demonstration of the kingdom. This is a kingdom that continues to grow and move and expand into every crook and cranny of the universe. And so - could it be - that even the people of Canada - the people of Minnedosa, Surrey, Breton, Saskatoon and Toronto - living in darkness, continue to see a great light? Because (dare I say it?) WE are people of the kingdom. We are people of the Light. We are Jesus’ people.
How is it-in your life-that light shines out? How does the Spirit of True Light shine through you? How does Jesus want to shine through you? How is Jesus’ love, power, understanding, healing capacity, and authority moving into your neighbourhood through YOU?