Matthew 4.12 cont.
12 Now hearing that John had been arrested He (Jesus) returned to Galilee.
Being in the north and on the roads that carried commerce, Galilee was open to the influences of the Gentile world. These influences affected them in their trading with the Gentiles, and also in their thinking. The philosophies of the Gentiles would have also affected them. Therefore, perhaps they had a more open mind toward the Gentiles than their brothers who lived in the other districts of Palestine.
These influences also affected their language, since they spoke with a different dialect than the Judeans. This is something remarked upon in Matthew 26.73:
52 They replied and said to him: “Are you not also from Galilee? Search and see that a prophet is not raised from Galilee.”
This was the occasion when Peter was denying that he knew Jesus.
The Judeans Jews looked down on the Galileans, and even despised them. In John 7.52 we read:
A little later some other bystanders came over to him (Nicodemus) and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent” – (NLT).
They were wrong in saying that no prophet had come from Galilee, since Jonah came from Gath-hepher, a town of Zebulon in lower Galilee.
It is interesting to see that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a town described as only a small village by Micah (5.2), and that He lived most of His life in an area despised by Judea, and also we know that Nathaniel said:
“Is it possible for anything good to come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him: “Come and see” – John 1.46.
This, in part fulfils the prophecy of Isaiah:
He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care – Isaiah 53.3 (NLT).
Galilee, this despised place was where Jesus spent His childhood from the time the family were directed by God to leave Egypt and return to Nazareth.
He comes to the despised, to the outcasts, to the socially unacceptable in order to bring them His salvation. He comes to make His home with us.