Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.
This interesting piece of text provides a transition into the next scene that covers chapters 5-7; the Sermon on the Mount, as it is commonly called. As we consider these verses, we have a device that Matthew uses several times in the his book, that of a generalized summation of events that leads into the next scene which in turn, provides a more specific look at what has been generalized (cf. 8:16; 9:35; 12:15; 14:35-36; 15:30-31; 19:1-2).
In this particular case, we have a generalization in 4:23 that has a parallel in 9:35 that describes Jesus’ early ministry in very messianic terms, providing a sort of literary book ends to the content in between. As we move into chapters 5-7, we will have a very specific example of one of His teaching sections; the kind of teaching the people of Galilee were hearing as Jesus traveled from place to place. Then, in chapters 8-9 we will shift the focus onto the miracles He was performing in their midst, and when you put the two sections together into Matthew’s messianic context, we can see not only what was going on at the time, but what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about.
Notice verse 23 where we see that Jesus is moving through the region teaching and proclaiming the Kingdom, and healing the sick from every sort of sickness. Then in the remaining verses we find that the news of Jesus’ activities spread throughout Israel and into neighboring Syria to Jew and non-Jew alike. Then we discover that Jesus isn’t only healing illnesses, He is making the lame walk, giving sight to the blind and chasing out demons as well.
People come from every region to hear Him, to see Him and to be healed.
Before we move on, let’s pause just a moment to consider what was happening: The long awaited Messiah had come to Israel. He went out into the countryside preaching the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whenever He did this, people heard God’s Truth and were healed of whatever consequence of sin that afflicted them; that is what the Kingdom of Heaven does when it is filled with the power of grace and truth, for grace and truth bring with them love, and love builds community, and community brings fellowship and healing.