When reading the Bible do you ever notice certain word choices that make you say, “Why would they phrase it like that?” I do. All the time. It sends me on Greek/Hebrew word searches for the actual meaning of the word. It forces me to read various translations, and I always end up reading commentaries to find out the “why” behind my questions. The phrase that piqued my interest this month is found in Mark 1:23 and Luke 4:33.
Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23).
Now in the synagogue, there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon (Luke 4:33).
Mark calls the spirit “unclean”, whereas Luke says it is a “spirit of an unclean demon.” So here’s my question – aren’t all demons technically “unclean?” This, of course, led me to more questions – how was this originally written? How do the Jews view demons and Satan in particular? How did Jesus see Satan and demons? Are fallen angels demons? And the list in my head goes on and on. But before I can answer any questions, I have to look at everything in context, not just with the surrounding scripture, but with the rest of the Bible. I also like to take into account the beliefs of the Jews in regards to Satan and demons. So when I have a Bible study, it can sometimes take me weeks before I will put anything on paper to share with you, which is why my posts are becoming so infrequent. I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m just knee deep into my Bible looking for answers. So the questions I’m currently pursuing are the areas of Satan, demons, angels and spiritual warfare – what did Jesus believe about it all? And have Christians inadvertently added to his beliefs? To get those answers, we first have to ask a few more questions.
What Do the Jews Believe About Satan & Demons?
Jewish thought about Satan, who he is and his purpose, is entirely different from that of Christians. Whereas Christian’s believe Satan was an angel who rebelled against God and cast to earth along with his demons (aka fallen angels), Jews believe quite the opposite. They believe Satan is an agent of God and has no free will or independent existence. Therefore he could never rebel. He can only do what he was created to do. He cannot do anything outside of God’s will and intended purpose for him. In other words, in their eyes, Satan was created by God for one reason – to test humanity – an angel whose sole purpose is to tempt, deceive, lie and manipulate man into sinning. They call him the adversary (1 Peter 5:8). He is an angel who cannot go outside the will of God or harm someone physically without first getting God’s permission to do so. They cite Job, chapters one and two as proof of their belief that Satan cannot act outside his created purpose.
Since God created good and evil (Deuteronomy 30:15; Isaiah 45:7) the belief that Satan is vying for God’s throne is totally foreign to Jewish people. He is simply an angel of God with a purpose – to get people to sin.
However, when it comes to Jewish belief on demons, I found those views to be wide and varied. They ranged from the belief that demons were the stuff of folklore, to supernatural, malevolent beings with the power to hurt humans, to the belief that demons don’t exist at all. This last one I found very surprising, considering that they believe Satan does exist as an angel. Hmm…curiouser and curiouser. So I searched the Scriptures and asked myself these questions: Did God create demons? If there are different types of angels, could demons be a “type” of an angel as well, that God created for a particular purpose? What does the Bible say?
What Are Demons or "Unclean Spirits"?
In the Old Testament demons were most often associated with idol worship (Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; Psalm 106:37). They are sometimes referred to as demons, devils or unclean spirits. An unclean spirit is a better description of what they are because it gives us a clue as to what it is and what it isn’t. In Mosaic Law, something that was “unclean” was considered unfit to use in worship to God. When the Israelites turned to making their own gods and worshipping them, not only did the item itself become unclean, but the spirit used to worship these idols became unclean. In essence, an “unclean spirit” (or demon if you will) is not fit to worship God, and they are made unfit by giving their adoration to an object or person. The object created also becomes unclean or “demon possessed”.
So, where do we get the idea that demons are horned creatures that are malevolent beings? The Torah refers to devils or demons as satyrs, ancient mythical creatures that were half goat and half human. They were similar to those worshipped in Egypt along with bull and calf idols. In fact, goat idols are mentioned along with calf idols in 2 Chronicles 11:15. So, this is how demons and Satan in particular got their horns.
And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the satyrs [Christian Bibles changed this word to demons or devils], after whom they go astray. This shall be a statute forever unto them throughout their generations (Leviticus 17:7, JPS).
“… and he appointed him priests for the high places, and for the satyrs, and for the calves which he had made” (2 Chronicles 11:15, JPS).
So when the Torah refers to demons, it is not referring to fallen angels but to man-made idols like goat idols or calf idols. Which is why many Jewish people don’t believe in demons as a spiritual entity.
They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods, gods that they knew not, new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not (Deuteronomy 32:17, JPS).
So when the Israelites demanded that Aaron create an idol for them to worship (when Moses was up the mountain talking to God), their spirits automatically became unclean or “demon possessed” because they offered themselves to an idol in worship.
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we are, as a species, always seeking something greater, better than ourselves. It is the spirit God created in us that drives that desire to find our way back to Him. For those who seek to know God with an earnest and sincere heart, they will find Him. Some, however, will impose their views of what spirituality looks like, and so they lose their way and wander far from God. The more their spirit is exposed to the profane, the more “possessed” the person becomes who is giving in to unholy desires. An unclean spirit, therefore (or demon), resides in anyone who has given themselves in worship to something or someone, who is not God.
There is a reason the Holy Spirit is given to all who accept Jesus as Saviour. Not only are we cleansed by the blood of Christ and forgiven of all our sins, but when God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence in us, we house the Shekinah Glory of the Lord (the Holy Spirit). He leads us and guides us into all truth. Our desire to worship and honour God becomes part of who we are. But, as human beings, we are always fighting against the adversary (Satan). Who will, until the day we die, tempt us to sin. There is a reason God calls us to be holy in all our conduct (1 Peter 1:15-16). There is a reason we are commanded in Scripture not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30), and there is a reason the first five verses in the Ten Commandments deal strictly with how holy God is and how we are to revere Him. Our spirits are meant to worship God and God alone and we are to live our lives in such a way that we glorify Him. To give ourselves in worship to anything or anyone else is to invite an unclean spirit to take up residence within us.
When Did Satan Get Cast Out of Heaven?
Christians believe that when Satan rebelled against God, he and a third of the angels who sided with him were cast out of heaven. These angels then became known as fallen angels or demons. Christians base their beliefs on the following verse:
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:7-9, NKJV).
So why were they cast out heaven and when exactly? Well, that involves reading Revelation 12 in context.
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his head. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born (Revelation 12:3-4).
Revelation is full of symbolism and metaphors. We must remember this when trying to interpret it. We see Satan standing before the woman (Israel) who was about to give birth. He wants to devour her child as soon as it is born. That child was Jesus.
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne (Revelation 12:5).
Jesus is caught up to God and His throne. This either refers to Jesus’ resurrection or his final ascension into heaven. Then war breaks out in heaven in verse seven and Satan, and his angels are cast to earth. Notice the progression. Jesus has returned to heaven after completing his mission on earth, and war breaks out there, resulting in Satan and his angels being permanently cast to earth. It would appear from Scripture that up until Jesus’ ascension, Satan was allowed to come before God, along with the other angels, to give his report on what he was doing on earth (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7). Could it be possible that with Jesus’ defeat over sin and death, there is no longer any purpose for Satan to report to God on what he has been up to on earth? He has been defeated because of Jesus’ death on the cross. But with Jesus’ victory over him, Satan suddenly realises there is no place for him in heaven any longer. Nor is there a place for those angels who were created to help him (Revelation 12:8), and they will also be cast out of heaven. So there is a war in the heavenly realms as Satan fights for the right to stay there. He loses and is cast to earth with his angels with one purpose in mind – vengeance. He is going to attack and persecute all those who acknowledged Christ as their Saviour. He is going to attack and persecute those who are called God’s Chosen People (the Jews). And he is going to make sure those who haven’t accepted Jesus never do. And we see it in the following verses:
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:9-12, NKJV).
This is why there is victory in Jesus! Satan has already been defeated. But he is still carrying on as he did before – causing temptation, deceiving others, causing destruction everywhere he goes, because he is angry that he lost his place in heaven and because he knows his time is short. The sad part about all this is, of course, that Christians still act like Satan hasn’t been defeated at all. We should be walking in victory, but instead many of us are slumped over in defeat.
Are Demons Fallen Angels?
When you look at any mention of those with evil spirits or who were demon possessed in the New Testament, the words used to describe them when translated mean “an inferior spirit, false god or minister of the devil.” In other words, like Satan, who was created for a purpose (to tempt people to sin), God also created helpers for him, also known as demons. The Torah calls them “unclean spirits”. Christians call them fallen angels (ministers of the devil) who possess anyone who offers themselves to idols in worship or live in defiance of God. FYI – we all used to belong in Satan’s camp. If you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour, you no longer have an unclean spirit within you. With your confession of Christ as Saviour and your repentance to turn from sin, God’s Holy Spirit resides within you instead. But, you will still (just like Jesus in the desert) have to deal with the temptation of the adversary to sin.
Are Demons Created by God or the Result of Sin?
The answer would be both. They exist because of humankind’s penchant for sin and its desire to disobey or defy God. Which would mean that those who reject or defy God, worship false gods or dabble in the occult could open themselves up to satanic forces. They could find themselves in the same circumstances as the man in the tombs who was possessed by a legion of demons (Mark 5:1-20).
In Matthew 12:24 one word used for Satan is Beelzebub. In Greek, it is translated to mean “lord of the house, a name of Satan, prince of evil spirits.” This is very telling because God’s angels are often referred to as “princes”. The word “prince” in Hebrew is sar, which has many meanings: “prince, ruler, chief, captain, leader,” and quite a few other forms of leadership. It can be in reference to an earthly leader or an unearthly one, as we see in Daniel 10:13, where the archangel Michael is referred to as the “chief of princes.” In fact, the word sar is also used about the prince of darkness or Satan. So, where Michael is the chief prince of all angels, Satan would be the prince of evil spirits. So when we look at God’s servants, His angels (His princes) we can see a particular structure or organisation of how they serve Him and why they were created. Besides the myriad of angels who are used by God daily to communicate God’s will to men (Luke 2:8-14; Luke 1:26-38; Genesis 19:15; Acts 7:52-53), they also give instructions and act as guides to mankind (Matthew 1:20-21; Acts 8:26; Acts 10:1-8) and strengthen and encourage God’s people (Matthew 4:11; Acts 5:19-20; Acts 27:23-25). But there are other levels of angels as well. For example:
It is because of this organisational structure that I am convinced the Jewish people are right about their views on Satan, in that God created him for a specific purpose. While we may not understand why God would create such a being, I have to accept that if, as the Scriptures state, God created good and evil (Deuteronomy 30:15; Isaiah 45:7) and everything He creates is “good” (Genesis 1:31) then Satan and his helpers were formed for one purpose – to tempt humans to sin, or in simple terms – to test our loyalty to God.
Which means we have a choice – to live for God or to live in defiance of Him. One way leads to life, the other to destruction (John 3:36; Revelation 20:15). Which will you choose?
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Have you ever wondered why the people in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth got so angry with him over a few little words? He had just finished reading the following to them:
“The spirit of the L-rd GOD is upon me; because HaShem hath anointed me to bring good tidings unto the humble; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the eyes to them that are bound; To proclaim the year of HaShem’s good pleasure” (Isaiah 61:1, 2, JPS).
Now here is the interesting thing about these verses: In the Tanakh, the verses above are similar to what Jesus would have initially read. But in the Christian Bible, a few words are changed, and added, which I have highlighted:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19, KJV).
You will notice in the KJV this phrase was added, “To set at liberty them that are bruised.”
And you will also see in the NIV one verse is entirely missing:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, NIV).
Naturally, my main question as to the changes and omissions is – why? Why would the NIV translators leave out the fact that Jesus came to “heal the brokenhearted?” Or why would the KJV add “to set at liberty them that are bruised?” Why would the translators of the New Testament change any of the words of Isaiah 61 at all? I have no answer for that but include these verses here to show you why it is so crucial to not rely on any one translation. If you are studying the Old Testament, I highly recommend using the Jewish Publication Society’s 1917 edition of the Tanakh as it is the most reliable and in cases like today’s verses is ideal for cross-references.
Getting back to the verses at hand, after Jesus finished reading to the people he said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” And of course, everyone who heard him was impressed with this statement. In their minds, they thought he was going to help people by seeing what he could do to make their lives easier. They were thinking in physical terms. Being under oppressive Roman rule, they believed Jesus was going to do something about it. They didn’t get the deeper picture of what he was saying, and they also missed the significance of where he stopped reading. Jesus stopped in the middle of verse two. Why? Because what he was saying was an announcement to all that the Lord was amongst them. The Messiah had come and was in their midst, “To proclaim the year of HaShem’s good pleasure.” The time had finally arrived for all to meet and receive their Messiah. Which was why Jesus didn’t finish the verse because if he had, he would also have been proclaiming “the day of vengeance of our G-d; to comfort all that mourn.” He didn’t come the first time to bring judgment or vengeance. He came to save. That’s why he didn’t finish the verse.
But look closely at his words and what he was saying:
“HaShem hath anointed me to bring good tidings unto the humble” (Isaiah 61:1, JPS). Most translations of Luke 4:18-19 say that God had anointed Jesus to “preach the gospel to the poor” or “proclaim good news to the poor.” They had changed the meaning of the Hebrew word `anav which means “humble, meek, lowly or poor” and lost the original intent when they translated it from Hebrew to Greek. They used the word ptōchos instead, which means, “Poor, destitute or indigent”. So when Jesus said he had been anointed to preach good news to the poor, he meant the meek, the humble, those who realized they were not worthy in God’s eyes – the poor in spirit. When Jesus preached his famous Sermon on the Mount the first thing he said was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). This is what he meant when he read Isaiah 61:1-2. He was anointed by HaShem to bring good news to those who saw their sin, regretted it and wished there was a way to make themselves right with God. Which is why the rest of what he said was so incredible. Just listen to what Jesus is offering for those who are poor in spirit:
“He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.” To “bind up” literally meant to “heal, bind, or bandage”. In other words, Jesus came to fix those who are brokenhearted over their sin, who have lost hope of any reconciliation to God. It isn’t about your broken heart that was betrayed by your cheating husband – this is about spiritual brokenness. Despair over sin, in particular.
“To proclaim liberty to the captives.” He isn't promising freedom to those in an actual prison for their crimes. He is promising freedom to all whose sin keeps them eternally separated from God.
“And the opening of the eyes to them that are bound.” With freedom comes insight. Those that are bound in sin will have their eyes opened to see that only Jesus can set them free.
But when Jesus saw how the people were reacting to his words he realized they didn’t understand his meaning. So he needed to get their attention, and he said, “Verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country” (Luke 4:24).
Imagine you have known Jesus since he was a little boy. Your children grew up playing with him. Now here he is reading the Scriptures on the Sabbath, and you are impressed and delighted that he has chosen to serve the people. But then you sit up, and you cock your head a little and think to yourself, “Did he just say he was a prophet?” So now you are listening a little closer. Then Jesus does the unthinkable. He compares everyone in the synagogue to the faithless Jews of Elijah and Elisha’s time and suggests it would be Gentiles instead who would enjoy the blessings of God because the Jews would reject their prophet (Luke 4:25-27). Well, that got their attention big time. They were angry. How dare Jesus suggest that people like those idol-worshipping Romans would experience God’s blessings! The Jews were God’s chosen people, not the Gentiles!
But the Jews were famous for rejecting the prophets God sent them. Jesus knew their hearts, and he was aware that a vast majority of them would reject him. And in time Jesus’ prophecy would come true, when the Jewish nation, under the guidance of the Sanhedrin, would reject him as their Messiah by having him crucified. But this rejection started in his hometown.
Jesus wasn’t trying to antagonize people on purpose. That wasn’t his intent because, at other times, he dealt gently with people who were aware of their guilt and wanted to find forgiveness. But this was his hometown. These were “his people” so to speak. He knew their hearts, and like the Jews of Jeremiah’s time, they believed they were saved simply because they were God’s chosen people. Whether they sinned or not, was irrelevant.
Sometimes we act the same way when God is trying to talk to us. We ignore His voice or that inner warning when we know we have done wrong. Or we rush headlong into doing things our own way even though we know better. We may even get caught up like the crowds in Nazareth who rushed to throw Jesus off a cliff (Luke 4:28-29), by accepting new teachings or doctrines without first checking them out against Scripture.
Jesus made it clear his reasons for coming to us:
These blessings come to all who recognize their sin and their need of a Saviour. Despite what many celebrity preachers claim, Jesus did not come to make us rich, nor did he come to make us feel better about ourselves. The Gospel has nothing to do with “feel good” doctrines but has everything to do with recognizing our sin and acknowledging that Jesus is the only way to be healed and made right with God. Once you do that, everything else falls into place.
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I want to take you on a journey today of how events might have transpired after Jesus’ time in the wilderness. One of the things I like to do when reading the Gospels is to open them all up on Biblegateway.com in different tabs. That way I can get a complete picture of events as they transpired. After Jesus had defeated Satan in the wilderness, for example, we get a full picture of what He did next.
From the Gospel of Luke, we learn that Jesus returned to Galilee and taught in the synagogues there.
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all (Luke 4:14-15).
The Gospel of Mark gives us a bit more information by telling us that during Jesus’ time in the wilderness John the Baptist was imprisoned. Jesus returns to Galilee with a message similar to John’s – to repent and believe in the gospel. FYI – the word “gospel” means “good news.” Only Jesus has added something extra to his message. He lets us know that “the time is fulfilled”. Meaning that the “time” John was talking about in regards to “one coming” (Mark 1:7) was now fulfilled and that the “kingdom of God” was at hand.
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom] of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).
The Gospel of Matthew gives us even more details. In it, we learn that when Jesus heard John was in prison, he went to Nazareth in Galilee first. I find this incredibly moving. Why? He has just heard Herod has imprisoned his cousin. So what does he do? He heads home to see his family. No doubt to give comfort to his mother (John’s aunt). We learn he journeyed to Capernaum (also in Galilee), which was where Peter, Andrew, James and John lived. Matthew gives us specifics regarding the region, and Scripture to back up that the prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus. But he leaves out the part about Jesus’ journey to Cana.
Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17).
The Gospel of John confirms that Jesus went to Cana “on the third day”, where he attended a wedding, in which his mother and brothers were present. But, he first travels to Nazareth, and we are filled in as to what transpired there (before the wedding), and it wasn’t pleasant.
He went to the synagogue (as was his custom) on the Sabbath. He stood up and read from the book of Isaiah 61:1-2:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
He then announced to everyone there (keep in mind these are people he has known all his life) that the Scriptures he just read were now fulfilled. He could have stopped there. The people were impressed. In their minds, Jesus just declared that he was going to help people by taking care of the poor and the sick. But that’s not what he meant. So he explains - and ends up getting run out of town (Luke 4:23-30).
Yeah, going to a wedding sounds about good right now. Let’s get out of here!
Is it easy to imagine the sequence of events now? Jesus hears about John’s imprisonment and journeys home to Nazareth. While there he goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath, ruffles some feathers and “on the third day” he travels to Cana for the wedding. He probably made the trip with his mother, brothers and disciples. It is believed this was where he performed his first miracle, which caused his disciples to believe in him. Who were his disciples at that time? John’s gospel tells us they were Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathanael (John 1:35-50). But, this is a wedding where members of the family and close friends were attending. If Mary was invited along with her family, can we assume that James and John, along with Zebedee and Salome (Mary’s sister, brother-in-law and nephews) would also be there? The Gospels don’t say directly one way or the other, but the celebration of a wedding was a big thing, and Jewish wedding celebrations lasted for seven days. I find it hard to believe Mary’s sister and her family were not there.
John’s gospel also confirms that after the wedding in Cana Jesus, the disciples, along with his mother and brothers, journeyed to Capernaum. Capernaum was the home of Peter and Andrew. It was also the home of Jesus’ cousins, James and John. It was located by the Sea of Galilee. Can’t you just hear Salome suggest to her sister to come to Capernaum for a visit after the wedding?
“Come visit with me, Mary. Why go back to Nazareth where everyone is still in such an uproar. Come to Capernaum. Relax by the sea and stay for a while until everyone cools down a little.” Sure, she never said that, but the writer in me can’t help imagining that she did. So off they all go to Capernaum. And it is here that Jesus officially calls Peter, Andrew, James and John, to become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20).
With this sequence of events, we can see why the four fishermen so easily left their trade to follow Jesus. They had just seen their first miracle in Cana. Now they are home in Capernaum. Peter and Andrew are no doubt contemplating what they saw. So they get in their boats and go fishing. Jesus walks by, sees them and says, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” How can they say no? They heard John the Baptist declare that he was the Lamb of God. They spent time with him before he went into the wilderness. They have just seen their first miracle in Cana. They don’t hesitate. Both the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Matthew say, “They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” They left their nets! In the water! They forsook everything – their livelihood – to follow Jesus. There was no doubt in their minds as to who Jesus was.
Then Jesus moves on down the shore. He sees his cousins James and John out with their father Zebedee mending their fishing nets. Now keep in mind – these two men have known Jesus all their lives. Their father married Mary’s sister Salome. So they had an “inkling” that Jesus was no ordinary man. They too left everything to follow Jesus after he called them. They left their father Zebedee with the hired help to tend the nets. But Zebedee didn’t stop them because he knew. They all knew who Jesus was and why he had come. They heard the stories of his birth, so imagine their excitement at being asked to be a part of his ministry.
Isn’t that the way it is for all of us who meet Jesus? One day everything is normal, we’re attending weddings, visiting family or maybe out fishing on a boat (or whatever your work is) our plans are set, then you hear about Jesus. And you are ready to change your life in an instant just to follow Him.
“They immediately left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:20).
Maybe Jesus is calling you today. Perhaps you have been following him for a while, but he is calling you to do something new that would require a great sacrifice on your part. Would you leave behind everything to obey? Would you forsake your family, quit your job, possibly change all your plans to follow Jesus? Now, he never asked Peter, Andrew, James and John to do any of that. He just said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They knew in their hearts what that meant for them. But what does it mean for you? For some, it will mean obediently following the Lord as he calls you to become a missionary or a pastor. It might mean that He calls you to stay in your current job, but risk getting fired so that you may tell others about Him. It may mean selling your house and moving somewhere to start all over again. It might mean giving up something you have loved and done all your life because he wants you to go down a new path now.
Following Jesus can be different for each person, but the main question we should ask ourselves is this - how willing are you to become a “fisher of men?”
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