DEVOTIONAL – JUNE 20
Leslie M. John
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14)
As a result of seeing miracles from Lord Jesus Christ there was a great multitude following Him, may not be much to hear message from Him, but to see they were healed of their sickness. Jesus gave commandment that they all depart to the other side of Capernaum, which was Sea of Galilee. At this time a scribe came to Him and said that he will follow Jesus wherever he went. It is quite possible that this scribe did not really want to follow but it may be that he thought of earning some finances or fame by being with the Lord. Jesus said to him that…
“The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” Matthew 8:20
Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary conceived in her of the Holy Ghost. He, who was “in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7)
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11)
It was not as easy to follow Jesus as the scribe thought it is. One of the twelve disciples betrayed Jesus and rest of them left Him when He was about to be crucified. Jesus said to them that “the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” (Matt 26:31b) and as He prophesied all of them left Him on the day He was crucified. Peter denied Him three times before the cock crew the night before his crucifixion, but later he repented and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ boldly.
There was another man, who perhaps half-heartedly, was following Jesus for reasons best known to him. Jesus asked him to follow Him but he requested permission from the Lord that he may be allowed to go and first bury his father. That was an excuse! The phrase ‘to go and bury the father’ is usually used to show indifference or to postpone an assigned task. Yet another said he may be permitted to go and bid farewell to those who are at his home. That was an excuse too! Jesus said to him that no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
“And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”. (Luke 9:59-62)
When Jesus called Peter and his brother Andrew, fishers by profession, saying “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” they were casting a net into the sea and they did not hesitate or tell Him excuses. Similarly, when Jesus called James, the son of Zebedee and John his brother, they were helping their father in mending their nets. They too did not hesitate nor did they say any excuse. Matthew, the tax collector followed Jesus immediately when he was called. (Ref. Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 9:9)
The cost of discipleship is huge but the rewards the disciple receives are worth counting more than any treasure on this earth. No matter a follower would face hardships or persecutions for His name sake, yet they are blessed.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12)