15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
Matt 4:12-23 (ESV)
Reading through the above passage of Scripture, just as with the testimony of all the Gospel accounts, it becomes obvious that the whole of Scripture focusses fully and squarely on Christ Jesus the Messiah. All of the prophets of the Old Testament testified to Him, and to all that He would do. The tangible things of old, such as the Old Testament sacrifices, ceremonies and feasts, pointed forward to Him. The protection of God’s people in Goshen, and the calling out from the slavery of Eygypt, prophetically proclaim the work of the Messiah in the plan of God. In fact, I can think of no part of the Old Testament Scriptures that fail to point forwards to Christ and His Gospel.
Then on into the New Testament, and the eye witness accounts of the disciples, as with the passage above. All clearly tie the Jesus they followed, to the Saviour, the Messiah prophesied of old. From His birth place, to the pathways He travelled with His disciples, as in the passage above, to the words He spoke, to the miracles He performed; all testified that He was, is, and always will be the Anointed One of God, sent by the Father into the word to save sinners.
Whereas today we know with hindsight that the Christ would be crucified, and the Gospel would be sent forth to every nation by the power of the promised Holy Spirit, it must be said even today there remains a striking similarity when the Saviour calls. Though Christians can make a good case for the Gospel message being true, and if read sincerely, the Old Testament prophecies testify to Christ as Saviour in a strikingly accurate way. And though the love of the saints for one another, and even for their enemies, can speak loudly to a selfish and dying world; it has to be said that none of these things can truly convince anyone to follow Christ on their own. As with the call of the Saviour to the disciples in the account above, in itself it simply defies logic. There they were, going about their daily business, and when Jesus Christ gave the call to follow Him, “ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
This is in no way intended to diminish the need for the Gospel to be preached, for the Bible itself says “it is the power of God unto salvation, for everyone who believes.” [Rom 1:16] The Gospel is the means given to us by God Himself, that it may be proclaimed to every creature, and all who believe and call upon His name will be saved. Yet the truth is, if we were to proclaim the Gospel to every creature upon earth, by and of itself our greatest efforts would save not one soul, no matter how accurately or passionately we preached the message. But what saves, is the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit working upon the heart of those He has chosen, that saving faith comes alive within them, and they suddenly believe what was previously a foolish message, to be the truth they are willing to stake their lives upon.
Know this without any doubt. You may have heard the Gospel message a thousand times over and considered it foolishness. You may have read the Bible from cover to cover and back again, but it has made no sense to you at all. You may have prayed in the mighty name of Jesus, and experienced nothing more than if you were simply talking to the wall. But should one day the Saviour Himself call you to follow Him, without doubt you will believe He is who the Gospel message declares Him to be. You will believe that the Scriptures proclaim Him to be none other than God Himself, lowered even into the flesh of man, and humiliated, punished, abused and crucified for your sins. And you will be broken in two as this truth is revealed to you.
Even now if you hear that call, hear the command of Christ Himself to “repent and believe the Gospel!” He is not a weak and sickly being desperate for followers, He is the Lord of the whole universe, and upon His return, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord. He is not meekly “knocking on the door of your heart” and patiently waiting for your response, as some suggest. Rather He has broken down the very doors of death and hell itself, and right now holds back the furious vengeance and wrath of the Father, until all who are His are rescued. If you hear His voice calling, then you are COMMANDED to follow Him, or perish eternally.
But the good news doesn’t end there by any means. Not only does the blood of Christ wash away the sins of the perishing, that they may stand before God as innocent as lambs in springtime. But because of His great mercy, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” [2 Cor 5:21] In other words, the reward for perfect obedience obtained only by the perfect life of Jesus Christ, has freely been given to those who believe upon Him as Saviour. Those who believe are now considered both perfectly innocent before Holy God Almighty, and perfectly obedient even unto death.
One last thing is concerning our life upon earth until we are taken into glory. Just as it has been stated already that the innocence of Christ has been imputed to us, along with His perfect righteousness. It is by His promise, and by His Holy Spirit that we are sustained in our walk on earth. We don’t have to worry ourselves about wrecking all that He has done for us, but surrender ourselves in faith to His sovereignty over our lives. He is our Lord and King, and we are His bondservants, and our lives are no longer our own. Just as it was in the call given to the disciples, accompanied with the promise ““Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” So it is now that way with us, as we rely upon His Spirit to sustain us, empower us, and lead us into the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” [Eph 2:10] It is He who chooses, He who calls, He who sustains, He who empowers, and He who “makes us” into that which He desires us to be.
If you hear His call today, and all you want to do is drop your nets and run to Him, then don’t harden your heart to His call. You have just been called by the One whom “all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” [Col 1:16] So put your trust in Him wholeheartedly, for if He is for you, who could possibly be against you?
Republished by Blog Post Promoter