Why does Jesus “withdraw” into Galilee? A casual reading might lead one to think that Jesus is afraid, or more reverently, that He seeks to avoid premature death. If this is how Herod deals with the herald, what of the legit King? But Jesus does not escape Herod’s domain, He just relocates to a different part of it. Next one may be tempted to think the reason is primarily pragmatic. Nazareth was a small out of the way village, whereas Capernaum was located by the Sea of Galilee, was more substantial with a population of approximately fifteen thousand, and was home to at least five of the disciples; but this isn’t the reason the Holy Spirit gives us. Jesus relocated to fulfill scripture. He will headquarter His ministry in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Galilee was the most northern edge of the former united kingdom of Israel and was surrounded and influenced by Gentiles. Gentiles not only resided around Galilee but were constantly traversing through it on the Via Maris, “the way of the sea,” a major trade route running from Damascus in the north to Egypt in the south. Galilee was a land of darkness influenced by idolaters. It was far from Judea, far from Jerusalem and the Temple, far from the light. The Messiah has come, but not where we expect Him, why? I believe this communicates to us something of Jesus’ mission.
When Jesus comes in to the world it is a place of darkness, not light; it is a Galilee not a Judea; it is a Sodom, not a Jerusalem. Galilee pictures the world.
God sent His Son into a world of darkness to magnify His Light. So when you look within and see only sin, remember God’s Light, Jesus Christ, is greater than your darkness (John 1:5). Don’t be arrogant about your sin; it isn’t greater than God’s grace. The darker the stain, the mightier His blood is shown to be.