TEXT: Matthew 8:18-23
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
After a weekend of healing and casting out devils in Capernaum, Jesus’ fame and notoriety grew even more. With all of the people who came, bringing their sick and demon-possessed relatives to Him, his location on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee would have been broadcast throughout the region. Now, verse 18 tells us that Jesus withdraws from the press of the crowds: “When Jesus saw great multitudes about him, He gave a commandment to depart unto the other side.” Peter, being a fisherman by trade, must have had a house close to the shore, so it was easy to get to the Sea without anyone intercepting them.
Jesus did not revel in His newfound popularity. He, unlike so many leaders today, did not think that the number of followers He had was the most important thing. In fact, often throughout the Gospels, we find Christ actively discouraging people from spreading His name abroad. And, we find Him very often departing from the crowds to be alone with His disciples or even completely alone as when He went up into a mountain to pray. Jesus stayed focused on His mission and did not let the neon lights of popularity and fame distract Him.
That, in itself, is a lesson for those who would be Jesus’ disciples today. Jesus calls no one to be popular or famous. In fact, those who are truly living for Christ are more likely to be unpopular in the world. And those who gain what can be described as fame gain it because they, like Jesus, don’t pursue it.
Robert Deffinbaugh describes why those who follow Jesus will most likely not be very popular: Jesus’ disciples ‘must identify with God, rather than with their sinful fellow men. The prophets of Scripture lived apart from their culture, even from their families. They were not unaware of what their culture was doing, but they were not a part of it. They stood apart from the world. So, too, the Christian is to stand apart, and thus will suffer persecution. Our words of counsel and exhortation may be welcomed by a fellow-believer who seeks to do the will of God. But our words of warning and admonition are going to be rejected by anyone who is intent upon doing evil. We are not popular because we (are supposed to) tell men what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear.’ He goes on to to say, “One of the greatest hindrances to our prophetic ministry is our desire to be popular with the world, and to have its approval.”
Jesus’ disciples were never promised popularity. Sure, some of them achieved it. But Peter’s “popularity” came with being crucified upside down and/or beheaded. Paul’s popularity came with an unfriendly audience before the Roman emperor and many years in Roman prisons, not to mention the numerous beatings, jailings, and other misfortunes he endured. And, of course, Jesus’ popularity led to the “crowd” calling for His crucifixion. As disciples of Christ, we are not called to be popular; we are called to fulfill the purpose that God has for our lives.
One hymnwriter said:
God eternal has a purpose,
Formed in His eternal past,
Spreading to eternal future;
‘Twixt these ends all time is cast.
For with time there is the process,
Time for His accomplishment;
And in time we’re merely travelers—
For eternity we’re meant.
God would have a group of people
Built together in His plan,
Blended, knit, coordinated
As His vessel—one new man.
God would come into this vessel
With His nature, life and ways,
Mingling Spirit with our spirits
For His joy and to His praise.
As the product, the fulfillment,
Will the church in glory stand,
Consummation of the purpose
In eternal ages planned.
God will have His corporate vessel,
All His glory to contain;
Lord, we’re wholly for Thy purpose
All Thy goal in us attain.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.