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Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Jan 3, 2005                     Following Him 

 the field of repentance; city of comfort
 dwelling; habitation
 that struggles or fights; (wrestling).
Nazareth (the guarded one). separated; crowned; sanctified

Mat 4:18  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
Mat 4:19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

He left Nazareth, the place of separation, and sanctification, to the purposes of God, for that is what Nazareth means, “guarded one, separated, crowned; sanctified”. You have to be sanctified and completely set apart for the purposes of God, with no mixture with the world before you can go forth in the power of God-I don’t believe I’m wrong to say the Holy One of Heaven lends his strength to faith not flesh. But neither will he endue an unclean vessel with Holy Ghost power from on High. Can we follow him if we don't know where he is? If we don't go where he went? How can we understand our Lord, and know him better if we don't take the time to study closely where he went and what he did and with whom he dealt, paying careful attention to how he dealt with people? 
Looking at the names of these places where our Lord traveled, he left the guarded, comfortable,  place where he found the disciples and took them to go to place of repentance, the city of comforting others. It was near the habitation of those who were  struggling and those who wrestle with their sins, never gaining victory. He wanted them to leave their comfort zone, the place they were familiar with, where they'd grown up.  The scripture declares in verse 16 (see also Isa_9:2) these people were in darkness, under the shadow of death. He was that Light that sprung up and they could not help but see it. Oh, praise God for the Light!  I remember when I was lost, the emptiness I felt inside that I was always trying to fill up with other things, things that were often self-destructive. And satisfaction was never found.  Fear and pain and a sense of my own lostness and inability to save myself were my companions. The first two were results of poor choices, the third was the blessed result of Holy Ghost conviction.  But oh how beautiful was the Light the day he shone through in my soul and set me free. How grateful I am to Him for saving my soul. How precious is that Light, that Truth, so glorious.  He backed off the shadow of death and consumed the darkness with his Light! Hallelujah!

But John warns that when the Light came, men loved darkness rather than light. Those who did evil wouldn't come to the light because they preferred their sin and hated the light.  But there are those, who are poor and in despair,  those who were the castoffs of society, with no hope of ever doing better, oh how they run to the Light. They pressed in, some of them, through the crowd. They ignored those haughty religious folks that looked down their nose at Jesus, and those who told them to hush and be quiet, and determined to get to him.

And Jesus is walking by the sea of Galilee, and he had been in prayer, he had been in the wilderness, fasting and praying, being tempted of the devil. He knew exactly what he would do. He sees Simon, (that hears; that obeys;) called Peter  (a rock or stone) and he also saw Andrew (translated: a strong man; manly) his brother. Jesus is preaching repentance. I looked up the word repent. It means "to think differently, reconsider, morally to feel a compunction to turn from current behavior."

Remember in Luk_4:14 scripture says that  Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee and there went out a fame of him through all the region. So, Simon and Andrew had surely heard of this man, Jesus. And they had surely wondered about him. He had been to Nazareth, and had preached in their synagogue, telling them that the scriptures written in Isa_61:1 he had come to fulfill.  These were people he'd grown up around, who considered him only a carpenter's son. His own half-brothers didn't believe him. The people got angry at him. It says in Luk_4:28 the people were filled with wrath. They wanted to cast him off a cliff. These were those he'd grown up around--who were most familiar with him. God help us never to get too familiar with him,  and think we know it all. Help us never lose the wonder of Him, the unique specialness-for lack of a better word at the moment, of Jesus Christ. He was a man, in the flesh the same as he was the Son of God. And that rejection had to hurt. But he did not let it stop him. He left Nazareth and went to Capernaum. Matthew doesn't give much detail on his visit here at this time, in verses 22-23. But Luk_4:31-43 fills in a lot of the details of what happened when he got there.

Can you imagine the people in the synagogue in Capernaum, scripture says they were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with power. (Luk_4:32) Imagine the unclean spirit in the man in the synagogue-recognizing Jesus for who He was, filled with fear and dread, enough that he lashed out in anguish and cried out "are you come to destroy us?' And Jesus rebuked him and told him to hush and come out of him. He didn't have to touch him. He didn't have to spend hours pleading the blood, demanding the spirit leave. Four words. Come out of him. Authority. Total and complete authority-that could not be questioned by devils-but sometimes God's people do. They trust their eyes more than His Word-and I'm telling on myself here. I'm guilty. That's why I'm digging more in his Word, I want it to become so much a part of my heart there's no room for self or doubt or carnality.  He gave his people the same authority over the spirits-they are subject to us in his name. But they can smell fear and unbelief a long way off. And that they are not subject to.
But of Jesus, they said " what a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they came out!" (Luk_4:36)

He goes on to Simon's house and heals his mother-in-law. He brought deliverance to many that day. But rather than stay and bask in the glory of the compliments and thank-yous from the people delivered, rather than soak up their gratitude, and let it puff him up, no he did not get side-tracked. Surely, Peter and Andrew were astonished at this man they'd been following. Hey, he was going to be somebody in Israel. He was turning everything upside down. Surely, they felt proud to be associated with him. They probably loved the attention. But Jesus never let that change his purpose. He had that single eye. And in  Luk_4:42 when they begged him not to depart, he told them he had other cities and places to preach the same message. That's why he came. Can you imagine the frustration of Simon Peter and Andrew? Why not stay and enjoy all this attention and sudden popularity? Wow, did they have a lot to learn. So do I.  And I have the promise that he shall teach me and instruct me in the way I shall go and guide me with his eye. (Psa 32:8)
Thank you, my heavenly Father. Give me a servant's heart, like your Son had. One unconcerned about being popular, or noticed, or appreciated, or welcomed. So long as you are pleased. Oh, Father, I want you to be able to say you are pleased with me. Helping, serving others, sending all the glory back to you, not taking the credit, directing others to glorify you when your power helps them, that pleases you. That is what Jesus did. He redirected all the glory back to You. Oh, I love you, Father. Thank you for this precious, priceless Word.  I want to walk with you. To follow in your footsteps. To be so full of your Holy Spirit there's none of me left. Grant it to be so, Lord.


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