Walking With Jesus
Walking with Jesus during His earthly ministry was exciting, surprising, challenging and always amazing. Then there
came a time when it became dangerous. “After these things Jesus walked
in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to
kill him.” John 7:1. The apostles stayed by His side, fearful as they
might have been, and many disciples also continued with Him for a while.
The truth is though, the closer Jesus got to the cross, the fewer
followers He had.
During the first two and a half years of His
ministry the crowds got larger and larger and the excitement among His
disciples was no doubt so great that they could hardly contain their
emotions; but once the Pharisees determined to kill Him the crowds began
to dwindle and fear, ever so slowly, began to take hold.
One might think that Jesus would seek to devise a plan to avoid and allude His potential captors. The first step to staying alive would be to stay out of Jerusalem and keep away from any circumstances that would attract attention. Jesus did not chose that tactic, but rather the opposite. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,” Luke 9:51. By the time Jesus gets to the cross only John and a hand full of women are still with Him. I can’t say what the disciples and the apostles thought or felt because the scripture does not tell us, but I can imagine that when they saw from a distance the execution of Jesus, their faith melted away and was completely replaced by doubt and fear. They did not understand and therefore their faith was shattered. I would venture to say that we will never be tested to such a degree in our Christian lives, but still we will face the trial of our faith and it happens the same way....when we don’t understand why things happen they way they do.
It really didn’t take a lot of faith to follow Jesus in the early part
of His ministry, the crowds were huge, He was healing folks right and
left, even raising some from the dead. His teaching was astounding and
everyone was on board. So it still is with you and me, it doesn’t take
much faith to follow Jesus when our lives are near perfect, but when the
sky falls; sickness and death, poverty and loss, heartache and pain,
all come pouring into our life, then faith is tested.
When I started these devotions I said we are walking with Jesus and He is headed for the cross. In this life, during 2018, if we decide to follow Jesus we must understand that He is still taking us to the cross. Paul put it this way...”That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10. Yes, we’re still going to the cross.
Of this we should not despair, because after the cross comes the resurrection, when we die to the old man we raise in newness of life. The old man has to die so that the new man can live forever. This Easter let’s be reminded that the cross is the gateway to the resurrection. #walkingwithjesus
I suppose Jesus performed more miracles than we could imagine, notice the words of this passage in Luke 6:19,
“And the whole
multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and
healed them all.” This type of event is described many times in the
gospels, so much so that I believe it would be impossible to even
estimate the number f people touched with the healing power of Jesus.
Among those multitudes healed the Holy Spirit handpicked a few to give
the details of, leading me to believe that each of those must be very
significant in nature.
In Mark chapter three we have mention of Jesus appointment of the apostles; James and John are noted this way,
Mark 3:17 “And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:” I’m convinced that their surname indicated not only their personality but also the symbol of the times of their ministry. As the thunder heralds the rain to follow, so the ministry of Jesus now is preamble to showers of grace bringing millions to salvation after His death, burial and resurrection. The earthly ministry of Jesus would rattle the foundations of our world, but the great flood of saving grace would come after His ascension.
Just a little while after the appointment of the apostles
Jesus heals a leper. Luke 5:12 “And it came to pass, when he was in a
certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his
face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me
clean.” I believe this event was very significant, leprosy as they
understood it in the time of Christ could follow two very different
pathways. One strain would last a year or two and then clear up, the
individual then could be declared clean and return to normal life.
Another strain would slowly but surely progress with loss of feeling in
the extremities, terrible running sores, disfigurement and eventually
loss of fingers and toes, even hands and feet ears and the like would
occur. A person could take twenty-five years or even longer to die, yet
bearing the awful pain and scars of the dreadful disease.
No doubt Jesus healed many lepers during His time on earth, several incidents are recorded, this one seems to me to be very important. This man was “full of leprosy”, meaning he was disfigured, and most likely nearing the end stages of a long and painful death. When Jesus healed him there was no doubt that a major miracle had occurred, as a result the fame of Christ spread like wildfire. As we walk with Jesus through this event we notice His reaction to the growing fame.
Luke 5:16 “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” I believe Jesus knew that fame and ministry are not the same thing, He also knew many of the multitudes were empty in heart and insincere at best. His ministry was just now changing from reaching hundreds to drawing multiplied thousands. I believe it was grief that drove Him to solitude, grief in seeing the vast crowds yet knowing they would remain in their lost condition.
I want to walk with Jesus as He opens the door for me to preach to large numbers in many places in this world, but I need the private moments with Him every day to keep me grounded and understanding that a large crowd is not an indication of great success. Just as Jesus reached people one on one, so we are going to make a difference one life at a time. #walkingwithjesus
Last Sunday I started to the church to unlock the doors and turn on the lights; I couldn’t find my keys, then I remembered I put them in my coat pocket, I couldn’t find my coat. Helen and I spent about 20 minutes looking for it when I finally realized I had left it at my daughters house the day before. Where are my keys? They are in my coat, where is my coat? I misplaced it, I left it behind.
I’m afraid we are like that with our faith, it’s lost or misplaced and we don’t even know it. Then an event of life arises and we really need faith, but it’s missing, we have left it behind. So busy we just left without it. Then we believe it’s come to a crisis and God can’t bless us until we find it. The truth is, it’s not always the size of our faith that matters. When Jesus asked His apostles, “Where is your faith?” They were in a boat in the midst of the storm, they awoke Him and cried unto Him, “we perish”, he first calmed the storm and then ask “where is your faith?”
It’s not our faith that must be great, it’s our God who is always great, and that’s what matters. We are much better off to have little faith in a great God, than to have great faith in a little god, or a false god. I’m not advocating being satisfied with small faith, as I walk with Jesus, He strengthens my faith and it grows greater over time. But when I lose it, or it shrinks in the circumstances of life...God never shrinks, and never gets lost. I have the greatest God, even when I have little faith. #walkingwithjesus