What does Matthew 4:12 mean?
ESV: Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.
NIV: When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee.
NASB: Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee;
CSB: When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.
NLT: When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee.
KJV: Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
Verse Commentary:
We don't know exactly how much time passed between Jesus' baptism by John and John's imprisonment by Herod Antipas. Antipas was one of the sons of the late king of Israel, Herod the Great. Jesus may have spent some time in the southern region of Judea until Herod's arrest of John and then retreated to the northern region of Galilee to avoid trouble Himself.

Many Bible scholars argue that Jesus' public ministry began "officially" once John had been arrested. The time of the one who would prepare the way of the Lord had come to an end (John 3:28–30). It was time for the ministry of the Lord Himself to begin. Jesus' message was very similar to John's: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2; 4:17).

Matthew does not explicitly mention how Jesus felt about the arrest of John the Baptist. Presumably, this was a difficult experience: John was His relative (Luke 1:34–35) and God's chosen man to prepare Israel for His arrival.
Verse Context:
Matthew 4:12–17 shows Jesus' travel and ministry in Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee. This fulfills another ancient prophecy about the Messiah, found in Isaiah 9:1–2. Scriptures promised a great light would dawn in the region once occupied by the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, near the Sea of Galilee. Once thought of as ''dark'' because of its nearness to the Gentile nations and distance from Jerusalem, Galilee is the region in which the light of the Messiah will first shine brightly.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 3 ended with the Holy Spirit coming to rest on Jesus following His baptism. Now the Spirit leads Him into the wilderness to endure tempting by the devil after 40 days of fasting. Jesus demonstrates His sinlessness by resisting all temptations. He begins His ministry in the region of Galilee, settling in Capernaum and calling some disciples to follow Him. Jesus' work in Galilee includes traveling from place to place, proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of heaven is near and healing every kind of affliction. He soon becomes famous, drawing huge crowds from great distances.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 3 ends with a great affirmation from the voice of God the Father: Jesus is His Son. Immediately after that, God's Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for a time of temptation by the devil. Jesus passes that test and then begins His ministry in the region of Galilee. Jesus begins to call His disciples and travel around the region. He teaches in the synagogues and heals people with every kind of affliction. Jesus' fame grows quickly. This provides Him a large audience for the Sermon on the Mount, which Matthew begins to record in chapter 5.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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