Matthew 4 describes Jesus' Galilean ministry in terms of the fulfillment of the restoration prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2:"In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined."
The prophecy goes on to describe a coming Davidide, through whom restoration will take place: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'; Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore" (Isa 9:6-7). There are a number of Solomonic allusions here, the clearest being, "Prince of Peace".
Is it any suprise, then, that immediately after Matthew cites from Isaiah 9, Jesus is therefore described next as announcing: "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand"? As I've explained before on this blog, according to the Old Testament, the Davidic kingdom is "the kingdom of the Lord":
1 Chronicles 28:5: "“[The Lord] has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord over Israel.”
2 Chronicles 13:8: "And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David"
Jesus goes on to proclaim the "gospel of the kingdom" (Matt 4:17). The phrase encapsulates two things: (1) the "good tidings" (ὁ εὐαγγελιζόμενος, Isa 40:9) of the New Exodus proclaimed in Isa 40 and (2) the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom promised, for example, in Isaiah 9. Jesus is the true Son of David, through whom the Kingdom of David and the tribes of Israel will be restored. As both (and only) David and Solomon reigned over all twelve tribes--the northern and southern tribes--Jesus' ministry begins in Galilee. The restoration commences where the exile began.
Jesus then encounters Simon and Andrew. We read:
Matthew 4:18-19: As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
The language here recalls Jeremiah 16. There the prophet describes the restoration of the exiles in the land:
Jeremiah 16:14-15: "Therefore, behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land which I gave to their fathers.
The next verse describes how this will take place: “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, says the Lord, and they shall catch them" (Jer 16:16).
It is through the apostles that Jesus, the true Son of David, will restore Israel. They are the "fishers" spoken of by Jeremiah. As I will explain in greater detail in future posts, it is through their ministry that this is accomplished. Again, I will develop this more fully in future posts, but until then, note that how their "sending out", their "fishing", is finally described by Jesus at the end of the Gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matt 28:19-20).
They aren't leading people to the land, they are leading people to Christ. And they bring them to Him through baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. What's going on here? Well, Brant and I will be going into much greater detail as time goes by... not just in his next book and in my dissertation (which, God willing, will also be a book!), but right here on this blog, so keep tuning in.