One of the most scenic and lovely parts of the land of Israel is the region of Galilee. To the Christian, Galilee is also a special place because of its connection with the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in Galilee that Jesus performed many of His miracles and preached many of His sermons.
In Matthew 4:12-17 we read, ‘Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
So we see, that there was a divine purpose in the fact that Jesus spent so much time in Galilee. One point to note is the fact that prophecy was fulfilled. The people which sat in darkness did indeed see a great light. They saw Him who declared by word and deed, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Notably in Isaiah chapter 9 from which the above noted prophecy comes, we also read the well known Messianic promise, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).
It was in Galilee that Jesus began to preach. It was in Galilee that Jesus began to work miracles to show His divine power as the Son of God. Concerning the turning of water into wine, the beginning of His miracles, we read that this was done in Cana of Galilee. One thinks of course of Jesus stilling the raging storm on Galilee, and on another occasion, walking on the water. So many mighty words. So many mighty deeds. Such a great Light!
Interestingly, in the providence of God, Galilee was a part inhabited by many Gentiles as well as Jews. It was also a part that was on the noted Via Maris (The Way of the Sea), a major trade route from Egypt to Syria. Thus, as noted in Matthew 4:24, ‘His fame went throughout all Syria…’
Galilee of the Gentiles should be a precious corner of the earth to us still. In Galilee, the risen Lord, gave to His disciples the Great Commission, including the famous formula for baptism, still of course used in the visible Church of Christ.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Thus, Galilee, is a special place to many Christians. But, it is not visiting Galilee that matters. What truly matters is to believe in Christ Jesus, who ministered there, as the Light of the World, and who gave Himself a ransom for many.
‘He departed into Galilee…’
G B Macdonald