Dear Tabernacle Family,
Thank you for your sacrificial investment in our “Let There Be Light” initiative. Together, we are becoming a shining light of revelation to our region, nation and the nations of the world.
In his Gospel, Matthew tells us, “And leaving Nazareth, Jesus came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” (Mt. 4:13-16)
The Tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali occupied the most northern lands allotted to the people of Israel when they conquered Canaan during the time of Joshua. Through the years, because of their distance from Jerusalem, they had a more difficult time maintaining their connection to the rest of the people and were exposed to a myriad of foreigners who passed through their borders. “The way of the sea” was the Roman Road that connected Damascus, Syria with Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast; a branch of which went along the west bank of Galilee through Bethsaida and Capernaum.
The lands of Zebulon and Naphtali were humbled in that they were the first to fall to the Assyria armies when they invaded Israel during Isaiah’s time. Many of the inhabitants were deported and intermingled / intermarried with those from pagan cultures; and by the time of Jesus, Galilee was geographically and politically cut off from Jerusalem and had a predominately Gentile population. In fact, the Galileans were regarded by Judeans as uncultured and irreligious, and there is plenty of evidence to show the strained relations that existed between the two provinces (See John 7:40-43, 52).
Yet, it is this region and this people that God chooses to visit with the dawning of the age of redemption through the coming of His Son. In despised Galilee; a place where the people lived in darkness, without the religious advantages of Jerusalem and Judah; far removed from the center-of-power of the Jewish-religious-machine; in the land where death’s shadow and darkness were most dense; the light of God’s King and God’s Kingdom began to break forth.
Today, we joyfully affirm that the Light of the World which dawned upon Galilee of the Gentiles has reached to us, and is now shining through us, illuminating the truth of God’s salvation for all who believe.
Let it shine!
Pastor Jim Ruddy