In Luke, we watch as Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He’s going to be tempted by the devil. After being alone and fasting for 40 days—just when He’s at His most vulnerable and hungry—Satan comes up to tempt Him. But Jesus does not falter. Why? Because of the Spirit. The same Spirit that brought Him into the desert, empowered Him as He resisted the devil, and led Him out of the desert.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the whole countryside.” —Luke 4:1,14
While He was in the power of the Spirit, Jesus began walking by the sea. He saw Simon and Andrew by the water and said to them, “Follow Me.” These men, never having met Jesus or seen Him before, immediately left their nets and followed Him!
Don’t you think that if some random dude came up to you in the middle of your work and said, “Follow me,” you’d at least ask, “Follow you where?” But not these men. There was something about Jesus’ reputation that preceded Him. This should be the case with every Christ-follower, shouldn’t it? Our lives should make us stand out so much so that people know our character and want to replicate it in their own lives. There was something about this man that made these fishermen leave everything to follow Him.
Going on from there, Jesus approached James and John. He called out to these two brothers who immediately left their boat and their father and followed Him!
These men had no idea what they were getting themselves into. In the same way, when we enlist in the power of Jesus, it means complete abandonment of our former lives—no questions asked. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. Did I know back in 1999 when I gave my life to Christ that we would be fighting a major sickness with my wife? No. Did Peter know that his mother-in-law would become deathly ill? Did the disciples know that following Jesus would mean they needed to deny themselves and leave everything?
We often think that Christianity is all about comfort, but it’s not. It’s about obedience. Obedience to Christ no matter what may come our way.
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and He healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and the region across the Jordan followed Him.” —Matthew 4:23-25
I’m sure the new disciples were thinking, “Wow, this is so awesome! We’ve seen miracles and healing…this is going to be great!” But Jesus had not yet set the mission before them. Soon, reality would hit.
They would soon see that, yes, they would experience—and be a part of—Jesus doing amazing things, but their journey would not be an easy one. They would also experience heartache, discomfort, loss, and persecution, but not once would they be abandoned by their Leader. Not once would they look back at their former lives and wish that they never followed Jesus. They took up the cost of discipleship, knowing that nothing compared to life with Jesus. Not one thing could keep them away from pursuing the character and person of their Savior.
The cost of discipleship, in light of eternity, is not about what you lose, it’s about what you gain.
—LaMorris Crawford, Chaplain of the Cincinnati Bengals
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