24 “So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.” (Matthew 4:24–25 ESV)
Our day and age has immediate communication by phone, television, radio, satellite and internet. We contain this information literally within the palm of our hands. It may be difficult for us to grasp living in a culture lacking instant communication. However, that is the historical setting of Jesus’ day.
Therefore, it is striking that Jesus’ fame spread throughout all Syria; the Gentile nation immediately north of Israel. This notoriety occurred by word of mouth. It was basic, but effective. It would have taken some time, but the news of Jesus’ ministry of teaching, proclamation and healing soon spread.
Consequently, all manner of people with all manner of problems came to Jesus seeking a solution to their problems. These included diseases and pain, demonic oppression, along with those experiencing seizures and paralysis. Jesus healed them.
Jesus’ fame soon spread from Syria and Galilee to the Decapolis; a “ten cities” Gentile area that included a large Jewish population. Eventually, crowds came from even Judea and Jerusalem and the area east of the Jordan River; called beyond the Jordan.
“The ministry of Jesus—and probably also the ministry of the four men he called (vv. 18–22)—was dramatic for multitudes of people heard of Jesus and began to flock to Him. The news about Him spread all over Syria, the area north of Galilee. As people came, they brought many who were afflicted with a variety of illnesses and Jesus healed them all. No wonder large crowds began to follow Jesus from Galilee, from the Decapolis (lit., “10 cities”; an area east and south of the Sea of Galilee), from Jerusalem and Judea, and the region across (west of) the Jordan River,” explains commentator Louis A. Barbieri.
“This summary shows Jesus as acceptable in the synagogues (contrast the later hostility) and widely popular as a teacher and especially as a healer; the mission in Galilee was essentially a success story. While localized in Galilee, Jesus’ ministry attracted attention throughout ‘greater Palestine’ (which formed part of the Roman province of Syria). The prominence of healing marks a significant advance beyond the ministry of John: the power of the kingdom of heaven to which John looked forward was now being experienced in action,” explains commentator Richard France.
More to come as we anticipate Jesus’ first major discourse recorded in Matthew’s Gospel; The Sermon on the Mount. I encourage you to read Matthew 5-7 in one sitting in preparation. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!