Now, lets go forwards in time to Jesus. Jesus went to live in the region of Galilee. Matthew tells us that this was,
“to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt 4:12-17).
Jesus is the light that has dawned. His life and works are shining in the darkness, drawing people to himself.
Now, the region was called Galilee. We have seen that Isaiah called it the region of Galilee of the Gentiles. The lake in the region was called the sea of Genesaret, or the ”Lake of Gennesaret” as Luke calls it in Lk 5:1.
Matthew’s translation of Isaiah’s prophesy in Greek uses the following words: “the Way of the Sea (thalassa), beyond (peran) the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.”
It seems that Matthew then combines these words to talk about the lake. He calls it the thalassa of Galilee i.e. the sea in the region of Galilee. The phrase is a description, rather than a name. It is the Sea in the region of Galilee. It calls to mind the prophesy above.
Jesus then goes on to walk beside the “Sea of Galilee” and do amazing things. People come from all around to see him. And, he keeps cutting back and forth across the sea to go to the other “side” (peran) of the Jordan.
I think the “Sea of Galilee” is a description that the gospels use to call to mind this prophesy from Isaiah, that light would shine in that region. Jesus begins there. Jesus is the light, the hope in the darkness. The one who would re-establish the kingdom.
First posted on middleeastnews.org.uk, a blog contributed to by westerners commentating on living life in the Middle East. Follow their blog for interesting stories, poetry, recipes and applied theology.