CHIASM MATTHEW 4:17-23
A–From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (v. 17)
B– And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. (v. 19-20)
B–and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (v. 22)
A–Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. (v. 23)
Explaining the Chiasm
This chiasm marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry through the eyes of Matthew. Verse 17 references the term, Kingdom of Heaven, referred to as simply kingdom in verse 23. The Hebrew for Kingdom of Heaven, malchut shamayim, is found in only two ancient sources, the New Testament and Rabbinical literature. Surprisingly to most people, this term, along with its equivalent, the Kingdom of God, is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Mishnah, we find a statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korhah: “Why is ‘Hear O Israel’ recited before ‘If then you obey the commandments’ in the daily prayers? To indicate that one should first accept the kingdom of Heaven, and only afterwards the yoke of the commandments.” (Mishnah, Berachot 2:2) By this, he meant to say that when one signaled the intention to keep Torah by reciting Deuteronomy 6:4, it indicated one’s submission to the rule of God in his life, thus enabling him to keep the “yoke of the commandments” (Deuteronomy 11:13-21).