Thursday, April 12, 2012

“Why Did Christ begin and end his ministry on the mount?

“Why Did Christ begin and end his ministry on the mount?
In Matthew 5 we see the Lord going up a mount to teach – then in Matthew 28 his last message was in a mount in Galilee. Do you believe it coincidental that Christ began and ended his earthly ministry on a mount?”

Brother, I did not ask the question; someone else did. However, even though they did not know what they were talking about, they were actually right except for the fact that they were not abreast with the geography of the place. The region of Galilee where Jesus began his ministry was the same region in the days of Joshua because it has the same towns (Josh 20:7; Mt. 4:15). The whole of that area was a mountainous region. It was a range; a place with little mountains. Permit me to redraw the map of galilee. Galilee was one of the three provinces in Palestine. Within this province were mountain ranges from Dan, Mt Hermon, Mt Carmel and Gilboa. So when we talk of Galilee, we mean a vast area comprising of the entire northern section of the country.
When Jesus was taken to the mountain for his third temptation (mt 4:8), it was to show him how much power he could wield. There is special insight that comes with being on top of the mountain.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." This sentence does not say he began preaching at Capernaum which is the sea coast but that he dwelt there. Then after he left the place (from that time), he began to preach. If we trace his journey from Capernaum and in between the Sea of Galilee and Jordan river, it is clear that he was preaching on a cliff as every area here is mountainous and houses were not built in the valleys; they were built on mountain and hills tops.  

The sentence and paragraph are developed both spatially and chronologically. I will recite the verse again for purposes of making a keen plaidorie.  
“Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
13     And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14     That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15     The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16     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. 17     From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
I will take you step by step.
1.      Jesus left Nazereth and lived in Capernaum  v. 13. True or false?
2.      Capernaum is between Zabulon and Nephthalim. V. 14. True or false
3.      He progressed to the way of River Jordan where the gentiles inhabited. V. 15.
4.      From there he began to preach. V. 17. True or false?
5.      Where he began to preach in gentile inhabited area was not Capernaum the town. True or false?
When Jesus left Cana that was when he stopped in Capernaum. There, him and his family perched for a few days on their way to the Passover (Jn 2:11-13). After he left Capernaum, was going to Jerusalem, then he stopped on gentile land and began preaching to them. It is during this trip that he will pass through Samaria the mixed bred area which was despised by the chief priests and those who considered themselves authentic Jews.
Therefore, can we safely conclude that Jesus did not start his ministry in Capernaum?
Can we then safely conclude that he began it on one of those mounts or hills?
Don’t get me wrong; the implication of starting the ministry on the mount is arrived by eisegesis rather than exegesis but with no relevance to the savific work of Christ.
It is probable that Jesus began and ended in Galilee to show that the beginning matters but the end matters most. In other words, he began with his people and ended with his people. While the mountain is symbolic of trials and temptations in this case it portrays spirituality as could be seen in the sermon of the mount. This sermon establishes the rules for as spiritual kingdom.  That means that Jesus began his ministry on the spiritual realm and ended it in the spirit. He did not begin in the spirit to end in the flesh like the Galatians were trying to do.
Therefore, it is not coincidental; it is mere symbolism.
The first mountain area of Galilee and the last mount Galilee are the same of Galilee because they both still had the same neighbors and towns around them. This may explain that he began on mount Galilee (Mt 4:23-Mt 5: 1-3), left went and came back (Mt 15:29) then he left from there and went to Judea (MT 19:1). They took him from there to be crucified. After he was buried he resurrected and sent his disciples to go back to Galilee and tell his brethren who were there that he has resurrected (Mt 28:7). It is important to see the insistence of the Master about living our lives first for the immediate setting, (Jerusalem-family or neighbors) before going to Judea, Samaria and extremities of the earth.

Until then, let me know if you still have any problem.

St Arrey of Ntenako
“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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