Come, Follow Me Insights Resource Guide: Matthew 4; Luke 4-5 | Book of Mormon Central | Scripture Central

VIDEO: Come Follow Me Insights with Taylor and Tyler| What can we do to feel close to God? | Matthew 4; Luke 4–5


Matthew 4; Luke 4–5 | Jan 30-Feb 5 | Come Follow Me Insights – powered by Happy Scribe

I’m Taylor.

And I’m Tyler.

This is Scripture Central’s Come Follow Me Insights.

This week, Matthew 4 and Luke 4 and Luke 5.

So for episode number one, we’re going to going to cover Matthew chapter four and then we’ll do Luke four and five in in part two this week. So as we jump into Matthew chapter four, let’s situate this in the flow of events in the life of the Savior. In chapter three, he just finished being baptized. Now before he’s going to go north into the Galilee again and begin his ministry officially. It’s beautiful to me that he goes out into that Judean wilderness for 40 days, a long period of time, and we pick that up. In verse one it says then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Now, a first pass, when you read the King James Version here, the first thought that might come to mind is, wait a minute, the Holy Ghost led him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. In the Lord’s Prayer he says, lead us not into temptation, we pray for the Spirit specifically so we don’t get taken into temptation. And yet he himself is led by the Spirit to be tempted of the devil. This is where the Joseph Smith translation footnotes come in really, really handy because there are a couple of them in there, quite a few of them here in this chapter that quite frankly make a lot more sense.

So if you look at the footnote four one B, it says to be with God and then afterwards he was tempted of the devil. Now you could look at this two ways. If all you had was the King James James Version, you could actually make the conclude or draw the conclusion that before Jesus begins his ministry, he needed to be able to confront that direct temptation, the direct opposition that is going to be a constant influence in not only his life, but in the lives of his disciples and in the lives of people for the rest of time. And so you could make the argument that, yeah, he needed to have that experience to overcome the devil. But I personally much preferred the Joseph translation to say before he begins his ministry, he’s going to take some time to get away and connect with God and to commune with the Lord and receive his direction from God.

I love to connect this to the Israelites going out into the wilderness, leaving the world behind of Egypt and in the wilderness encountering God and there joining into a covenantal relationship with God. Now of course Jesus had done that, he was baptized, that demonstrated that he was in covenant a relationship with God. But wilderness is many times in our world today. People want to get out in the wilderness so they can have peace and tranquility. And definitely that was true anciently, but it’s also a place, and we’ve mentioned this before a wilderness is a place where you are fully dependent upon God. It’s not where civilization takes care of every bodily need. You might have to take care of your clothing and a place to sleep and your food and your water. And so Jesus is here demonstrating his willingness to be fully dependent on God.

So verse two tells us when he had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, he was afterwards and hungered. And once again, if you consider just the King James version, the English text here, that’s remarkable because it’s after this long passage of time. We don’t know if it’s an exact 40 days or if it’s the symbolic usage of the word 40 to mean a long passage of time. He was afterwards and hungered. I don’t know about you, but on fast Sunday I begin to feel those hunger pains fairly quickly. And you’ll notice the wording here where it says afterwards and hungered. To me, the principle that might be communicated out of those words is Jesus wasn’t focused on his hunger. He wasn’t focused on his fast per se. He was fasting so that he could focus on God. And after he had spent that time communing and connecting with God, then, as he’s coming out of the wilderness now, he recognizes more fully, I’m hungry, I’m ready to eat. There’s a principle there for us to apply ourselves. Next time you come to an opportunity to fast, when you feel those hunger pains, instead of focusing on those and thinking, oh, how miserable this is, instead having those be a reminder to turn heavenward and try to connect more fully with God.

Trying to fulfill the purposes for which you’re fasting on that particular occasion would be one way you could apply that verse.

It’s interesting. The word fast is related to the word English word fastener. Fasteners are things that you use to make something tight or to put something onto a wall, and you fast it there so it’s in a sure spot and it’s immovable. So fasting is about being strong and strengthened. Just like if you’re a fast runner means you’re a strong runner. So Jesus is being tested, but now we’re seeing the strength that he’s gained by putting his life into communion with God.

And have you ever thought about the reality that often in scriptures you’ll get these pretty intense negative experiences? Maybe these oppositions temptations that come from the devil and they often come either right after or right before incredible experiences. That these people in scriptures, and especially Jesus being our perfect example of all good principles, where that individual has received revelation or inspiration or an amazing outpouring from above. So you see that pattern in a variety of other places. Perhaps nowhere more obvious than the first vision with the prophet Joseph Smith right before he has that amazing experience right next to it is that incredibly difficult experience with overcoming the devil. And so here’s Jesus Satan comes tempting him. And verse three, notice the significance of these words, because this is the first recorded statement from the devil in the New Testament as we read it in its order, starting with Matthew. Notice the very first word that Satan uses in tempting format. He came to Jesus and he said, if thou be the Son of God. Now, before we even finish the sentence, look at the significance of that word. If is planting this seed of doubt.

If you really are the Son of God, and Jesus has just been in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, communing with God receiving his marching orders, we would assume kind of his ministry preparation time with Heavenly Father.

And at the baptism, God very openly declared, thou art my Son. So there’s just no question.

But even when there’s no question for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, satan still uses this temptation technique of planting a seed of doubt onto the soul of the sons and daughters of God. If you’re really the Son of God, basically it’s this prove it turn these stones, command that these stones be made bread. Now, I could be wrong, but I don’t think there would be anything wrong with Jesus breaking his fast at this particular point. He spent 40 days and 40 nights. The purpose is fulfilled. It would be fine for Him to break his fast. That doesn’t seem to be the real temptation from my perspective here. It’s Jesus, use your Godgiven power to gratify your own appetites, your own desires, to use them selfishly. That seems to be the attempt to prove that you’re the Son of God by commanding that these stones be turned into bread.

What I love is how his quote comes directly out of the Book of Deuteronomy and invites us to remember the time period where the Israelites were also in the wilderness covenanting with God. And God was giving them clear instructions about how they could find joy and happiness by being in that covenant of relationship with Him. And he says, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. And the reference there is Deuteronomy, chapter eight, verse three.

Did you pick up on the way Jesus responded to temptation? He didn’t have a conversation with the devil. He didn’t try to reason with Him. He didn’t try to debate why that would be a bad idea. He he went straight to Scripture, which tells us there’s an implication there. It tells us that Jesus has internalized the words of God, which ironically are his own words that he gave to Moses. So he’s quoting Moses in Deuteronomy, but he’s really quoting himself. And we know from other passages of Scriptures that ultimately all things that he’s giving have been given to him from the Father. So he’s really quoting God, and that’s his response, his instantaneous response to the temptation is not to think about it, not to reason within himself, but to meet a face on and reject it. And he draws on the power of the word of God, on the power of Scripture to drive it back.

We now change view. The scene is now the temple of Jerusalem. And you can see this beautiful visual that we’ve recreated. And we’re not exactly sure where the pinnacle is, but let’s choose this one here on the southwest. That’s my personal favorite spot to imagine where the story is happening. If you look down below, there’s this big, massive open plaza. There’s all sorts of shops going up this road. And over here, there are people who there are mikvas. These are ritual bazar. People can wash themselves before they enter up through the stairs into the temple. So if you look at this pinnacle spot, this is where the priest would blow the horn multiple times every day to indicate when the sacrifices should be happening. But I want you to look at how many people in one spot could see what’s going on. Jesus is tempted. The devil tests him, retries him, and says, why not jump from this pinnacle and then you could be saved by the angels? Now, let’s think about this. We all know the truth that the only way to be saved is to confess that Jesus is a Christ, meaning everybody has to know who Jesus is.

It’s really hard to confess that he’s the Christ if you don’t know who he is. Let’s think about in today’s age in our viral media, YouTube TikTok world, where people do all sorts of outrageous things to have a virally, sensational presence on the world stage. Jesus could have gotten immediate fame, not just in Jerusalem, but throughout the Roman Empire. Everybody would have known the story of the man who jumped the pinnacle and angels had stopped him. There would have been thousands and thousands of people right there in Jerusalem. That all would have seen it. So here’s Jesus who needs to get the message out about who he is. This would have been a very, very fast way of doing it. Verse is taking the slow path of hanging out in the Galilee and walking from small village to small village on dusty roads, talking to the poor and the lonely. But that’s what he chose to do. And I love that he did not take the path to quick fame and fortune. He knew his real identity and that he could do God’s work without having to sensationalize who he was or his message.

Now, there’s an interesting caveat in this particular temptation. If you look at verse five, the King James text says, then the devil taketh him up into the holy city and set as him on the pinnacle of the temple. Once again. Thank heaven. We thank thee, O God, for a prophet. Joseph Smith gives us a beautiful clarification there. The devil is not going to take Jesus anywhere Jesus doesn’t want to go. And wouldn’t you find it odd if the devil did take Jesus somewhere, that he would choose to take him to the temple? I love the Joseph translation on verse five. It says, then Jesus was taken up into the holy city and the Spirit said at him on the pinnacle of the temple, and then the devil came to him. And what does the devil say if there’s that word for the second time? Planting seeds of doubt again. And this to me is another lesson of life, is that Satan is very patient. He’s very persistent. He’ll try and try and try again. And just because I overcome a temptation, a particular weakness or particular temptation that he’s trying to get me to fall today doesn’t mean I can celebrate and say, whoo, I overcame that battle.

Victory won. Because life’s lessons have proven that time and time and time again he’s going to come back and try again with some of these same techniques as he does here. So if thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written. You got to be kidding me. The devil is quoting scripture to Jesus in an attitude of tempting him, which tells you that the devil knows the Scriptures and he can apply them in nefarious ways for his own devious and deceptive purposes. He’s quoting here, Psalm 90 111 through twelve, a song. It’s almost as if he’s singing a little snippet to Jesus Christ.

And psalms were often sung in the temple. So it’s interesting that of all the scriptures the devil could have quoted, he’s quoting a scripture that very likely would have been regularly sung in the temple.

Exactly. And so Taylor’s already walked through the essence of this temptation that get disciples instantaneously without having to work for it. And Jesus overcomes the temptation in verse seven by saying, it is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. When I was younger, I used to think he was saying to the devil, thou shalt not tempt me because I’m the Lord your God. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that I think he’s saying to the devil, don’t do things to put God in a position where you’re tempting Him. If I throw myself off, you have to send your angels to save me. And he’s saying, I’m not going to do that with Heavenly Father. I’m not going to make those kinds of demands of Him. I’m going to do his will. I’m not going to make Him do my will. And sometimes you and I tempt the Lord our God by putting ourselves in very dangerous or very unwise situations or relationships or settings where we kind of know better, but we think to ourselves, but God’s going to deliver me. Maybe we could learn some lessons here to not tempt the Lord our God, not put ourselves in places where we have to have this huge miraculous angelic salvation displayed in a moment.

So these first two temptations deal with this question of, you know, if is your identity really the Son of God? So there’s both the tempting casting of the doubt. I think it’s interesting how the devil changes his tactics. And then the very next temptation.

Yeah, so the third one is says in verse eight, again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain and Joseph Smith changes that to the Spirit, taketh him to an exceedingly high mountain and then the devil comes to him and showth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. So there’s this massive display of the world’s honors and riches and power and glory. So here’s the temptation in verse nine. He says to him, all these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me. And Jesus response. Get thee hence, Satan. For it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Keeping the first commandment, first worship the Lord thy God and have no other God before him. Don’t worship anybody else. Did you pick up on the pattern here three temptations and three times Jesus uses the phrase it is written and he quotes scripture to the devil. Incidentally, all three of those scriptures happen to come out of Deuteronomy, chapter six and chapter eight. He knows those scriptures and he’s using them to draw strength to overcome the devil.

I wonder if there’s a principle there for you and me to apply in our lives today, to perhaps memorize a couple of key scriptures and maybe some key hymns or lyrics that are powerful and sacred to you. So that in moments of weakness, moments of clear temptation, you might be able to discern what’s going on and respond. Not with well, should I do this or should I not? But rather, wait a minute, I recognize what’s happening here. It is written. And then quote your favorite scripture. I’ve learned that the Tempters don’t love it when you start quoting scriptures to them. There’s power in the word and there’s power in invoking the name of Jesus Christ, in pushing back those temptations so that we can overcome them and push them out of our life and move forward.

I love also trying to apply this to our own lives. So here is Satan trying to offer Jesus everything. Remember, we learned in the Gospel of John that Jesus created all these things under the direction of God. So Satan really had no power to give Jesus anything. Jesus already had all this. I want you to think about your own identity. Each of you is a child of God. That means each of you has the potential to be like him. And God has promised eternal life to anybody who’s faithful. They will inherit everything that he has. So we can be like Jesus when we are tempted of the adversary with anything the world has to offer. We can say God has already offered me beyond what the world has to offer. He has offered me eternal life and everything that he has and to be fully like him. So there’s not one thing the adversary can offer us that God has already given us and that you already have eventual access to because you have put yourself in coming out to relationship. So I see we can apply this to ourselves and say, satan, you have nothing for me.

So let’s zero in on this concept that Taylor just shared for a moment. Temptation number one with the bread. Temptation number two with throwing yourself off. The angels are going to come and save you. You’re going to gather disciples very quickly. And temptation number three, gaining the kingdoms of the world. So if you look at all of the temptations, there is a common thread going on here. What Satan is proposing is for Jesus to do something to break eternal covenants with Heavenly Father and to use his power, or to invoke God’s power to save him in order to get instantaneous gratification, instant bread. I don’t want to have to go home and grind some grain and make some dough and form it into loaves and start a fire and have to cook some bread, bake some bread. I want what I want and I want it now is a very devilish approach to life. That’s what we saw up in the premortal council in heaven. He didn’t want to suffer for you. He didn’t want to pay any price for you. He didn’t want to have to work for salvation. He wanted all of the glory without it costing him anything.

He wanted it right now. And so his invitation to Jesus, his temptation to Jesus is nothing more, nothing less than an invitation to become more like Satan. Do things the way I do them, which is take things that aren’t rightfully yours, or they may even be rightfully yours, but take them in a nonappointed way and shortchange the process, the effort of working diligently to accomplish those things the way the Heavenly Father has asked us to do them. So you’ll see, in every case, instantaneous, you don’t have to work and suffer to gain kingdoms. Just bow down right now and boom, they’re yours. I’ll give them to you. You don’t have to go like Taylor said, and walk those dusty hot streets of galley and try to love people and teach them and do miracles in order to gain disciples. Just fall down, the angels will catch you and you will be a star instantaneous. And don’t work for the bread, just turn it right now. Now there would be a day in his ministry when he will use his power to miraculously make bread, multiply bread. But that was to feed 5000 people. It wasn’t to selfishly gratify his own appetites and desires.

So as you move forward in life. And as temptations come your way, recognize that at the core, every temptation that knocks on your door is an invitation to become more like the Devil. It’s to get something that you either haven’t earned or don’t deserve, or it’s not rightfully yours. And to take it out of time or out of order or out of place or in the wrong context. It’s not according to God’s law. And so in order to help us become more like Christ in that process, why not recognize the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ and his infinite atonement, his power isn’t just to help you overcome past sins and transgressions, his power is also to help you overcome temptations before some of these things even become a sin?

This is an interesting pattern that we see expressed here in the New Testament. And it is human nature that we want all these things just kind of solved immediately. And in some ways we live in the modern in the modern day, we live in a time where some of these things are a little bit easier than they were in the past. But what happens is if we try to bypass the work and the effort that’s involved in working for ourselves, right, to be able to earn our daily bread, working to build relationships and putting in the time and effort to build the Kingdom of God, it turns out it’s a lot of work. And if you have not been in a situation in seeking to build a kingdom of God where you have butted up against people and there’s been some friction, you probably actually have not been working on building the Kingdom of God. I only say that because there’s a lot of people involved and we all are working towards it. And sometimes it’s not as simple as we all wish it would be. And God is inviting us in these efforts to learn to repent around things that we’ve done that might hurt other people, forgive when people do things that might bother us.

But ultimately, I see an invitation here where we can be reminded of the joy and value in labor and work. If you think back, the Garden of Eden, adam and Eve were invited, essentially commanded to work for their lives. And I want you to consider in your own life, what have you found joy? Have you found joy by things just automatically appearing without any effort or working hard over time and seeing growth and progress? So I think one lesson we can get from here is invitation that we work diligently with the Lord for our own salvation. And in that process we experience joy because of the efforts we’ve put into it. So this is a helpful model. Tyler and you and I were talking about Elder Maxwell, and he has a really powerful talk called Irony the Crust on the Bread of Adversity. And he has some really interesting insights to connect to what we’re talking about here.

Yeah, he does. I love this concept that he shares in this particular talk when he says, though Jesus suffered all manner of temptations, yet he gave no heed unto them. So a pause there. It’s that idea of he didn’t even consider them. He instantly quoted scripture to them and overcame them. And then listen to this next part. Unlike some of us, he did not fantasize, reconsider, or replay temptations. How is it that you and I do not see that while initially we are stronger and the temptations weaker, dalliance turns things upside down. It’s a powerful concept that we don’t need to feel like we’re victimized by temptation and by the adversary. He’s not stronger than us. When he initially comes with those invitations to sin or to become more like Him to one degree or another, we’re stronger. But Dallyants, to dillydally, to delay, to replay and rationalize turns things upside down. And the next thing you know, the temptation is stronger than us. So it’s a powerful reminder for us that timing matters when it comes to temptation. So rather than ending this episode on talking about the devil and Him trying to get us to become more like Him, let’s go to the other side and recognize that the whole mission of Jesus Christ is to invite us to become more like Him, with not invitations of go and sin all you want.

I’ll forgive you because I love you, not with invitations of go and do whatever you want. It’s invitations of come follow me. Come labor with me in the vineyard. Do the things that you have seen me do. Jesus’s. Invitations are invitations to exercise our faith and to give our life, our energy, our hopes, our desires, our gifts, our weaknesses, our sins, our temptations to give them all to Him. Because as we work through those processes with faith in Him, that’s how we become more like Him and more able to discern good from evil and more powerful to push back forces of darkness, not just in our own life, but in the lives of people around us. And we leave that with you. In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Know that you’re loved and spread light and goodness.

So in the second episode for this week, we’re recovering Luke chapter four and five. And Luke chapter four begins with the Luke’s account of the temptations of Christ in the wilderness. And there are some subtle differences between Luke’s version of the temptations and Matthews. Probably the biggest difference is that he switches the order of temptation number two and three. So the kingdoms are offered in the second temptation. In the pinnacle of the temple is the third temptation in Luke, and Jesus, obviously, at the outset of his ministry, overcomes all of these temptations and refuses to give in, making him eligible to be able to perform this infinite atonement.

So then he makes his way back up north into the Galilee region. He had grown up in the Galilee region in Nazareth and this is where the story takes us. And it also gives us the insight about why Jesus moved eventually down to Capernaum and centered his earthly ministry in the Galilean town of Capernaum. It’s right on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee.

So if we just orient ourselves very quickly on the map, you have Jerusalem down south in Judea, you have Nazareth up here in the hill country of Galilee. So when we talk about the Galilee, it’s not just the sea, it’s this whole northern region of Israel today. And Judea is down here in the south. Jericho and the baptism site are clear down south on the Jordan River, in the Jordan River valley. And so the temptations and the baptism taking place somewhere down here in the Judean wilderness. He’s now come north and then he’s going to relocate after this story to Capernum and that’s his home base largely for the three years of his ministry.

So we go into verse 16 and he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah, or Isaiah, we would say it in English. And when he opened the book he found the place where it was written. And before we read what he said, tyler, why is this interesting that Jesus is reading? What’s going on here?

So in the first century among the Jewish population, especially in the backwaters of the Jewish population. He’s not in a center of Judaism down in Jerusalem in one of the Scribal schools, having been taught at the school of Hale or the school of Shamai. He’s up in a place where this is very suburb to the suburb to the suburb. He is an outlier of society and he’s going to read. Biblical scholars and historical experts will, will estimate, I’ve heard estimates anywhere from three to 10% in that range of the Jewish population in the first century are able to read. And of course Jesus at age 30, the Son of God who was teaching doctors and lawyers at age twelve, by age 30 he’s well able to read. But it’s significant because it’s a skill that very, very few people in his surrounding region would have had. Did you also pick up on the fact that there’s that little phrase in verse 16 as his custom was, yeah.

I’m glad you brought this up. So it’s interesting that Jesus is showing that he is faithful to the law of Moses, the covenantal instructions that have been given by Himself many generations back. So he’s taking the time to go worship in a synagogue.

So today you might hear people say things like the following I don’t need to go to church, I go out. Into the wilderness to connect with Jesus. And I’m a follower of Jesus and I connect with Him better doing activity X, Y or Z rather than going to church. People can say that. But if we’re careful readers of the Scriptures, if I want to be a follower of Christ, that means I do the things which he did and things that he’s commanded. And it was his custom to go to church, to the synagogue on the Sabbath day. And so if I want to be more like Him, I’m probably going to want to follow that example.

So the way synagogues were laid out, we have a depiction here. People will be sitting on the sides and somebody would be invited to read from the Scriptures and they would unroll the scroll to where they were in the scripture reading. And that person then would read. And then the custom was, when you sit down, it is your job to expound or interpret what you have read. So now let’s turn and listen to what happened to be the scripture block reading for Jesus that day and then what he said to the people.

So that’s an important thing, the Scripture block reading for that day. You’re used to this because we have blocks of Scripture that the church has given us every week to study, so that when we come to church or to our meetings, we can discuss them well in that particular, they have the same thing. And here he is in Isaiah chapter 61, verse one and two.

It reads, 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 broken hearted, 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. Then he closed the book and he gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all of them that were in the synagogue were fasted on Him. And they began to say unto them, this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears? Could you imagine sitting there like they all have heard Isaiah? This is not the first time they’ve ever heard these passages. And here is the Son of the Carpenter saying, you are the fulfillment of all these messianic expectations. And before we look at how the people fully reacted to Jesus, let’s pause and think about and consider how did Jesus understand his mission? Now notice that he spends the time to situate his mission and life purpose within scriptural utterance, utterances the words of Isaiah. But look at these beautiful things back in verse 18.

He hath anointed me. The Hebrew word is Messiah. The Greek word is Christ. To do what? To preach the Gospel to the poor. And that’s not just poor and material blessings. It might be poor in spirit. He sent me to heal the broken hearted, preach the deliverance. I mean, these are really powerful things. And many Jews were expecting, we want you to show up with a flaming sword and a horse and take out our enemies. Instead, he’s saying, no, I’m actually here to heal what’s broken, and I am the Messiah.

Which is a very interesting and relevant point for us today. Sometimes you and I, we have our own messianic expectations, if you will, our expectations that we place upon the Lord, these ideas of, well, if you’re really God and if you’re really there, and if you really know me and love me, then you’ll do X, Y and Z for me. And sometimes he doesn’t meet our expectations. He didn’t meet theirs. They were expecting something very different. And he came not to overthrow the Romans, but to overthrow death and hell and the kingdoms of darkness in the world. And so this is fascinating, the response they all wondered if the gracious words was proceeded out of his mouth and they said, it’s not this Joseph’s son, this is that kid that grew up down the street. And now he’s here reading in our synagogue, telling us he’s the fulfillment of the Messiah prophecy. In Isaiah, chapter 61, how can this be? And so he tells them in verse 24, no prophet is accepted in his own country. And then he says, But I tell of you of a truth. Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.

So we’re telling the story of Elijah and the widow of Zerafath here. So in verse 26, he says, but unto none of them, all these people in Israel, these widows in Israel, until none of them was Elias sent save unto Serepta, a city of Seiden, unto a woman that was a widow. So saidan tire in Seidon, it’s up north on the Mediterranean Sea coast, among Gentiles, among all the widows of Israel. He wasn’t sent, but he was sent to a widow up there in Seiden.

That really breaks expectations.

And then verse 27 and many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elysius. So this is the successor to Elijah by the name of Elisha. If you use the Hebrew name instead of the Greek, Elysius the prophet, and none of them was cleansed, saving Nah Aman, Naman, the Syrian, he’s not an Israelite, he’s a Gentile, and he was cleansed. So you have these two non Israelite people who are blessed, and it’s totally breaking with the norm of no god’s blessings are only for us. And there’s another way to look at this. There’s this idea that kind of ties back into the temptations that we talked about in in part one of this week’s episodes. This idea of people wanting instantaneous gratification without it costing them anything. So here are these people in the hometown it’s almost as if they’re saying, prove that you’re a fulfillment of this. Don’t just say it. We’re not going to take you at your word. Do the mighty miracles among us that you’ve been doing among other people. We want to see it and then we’ll believe, then we’ll trust you, then we’ll follow you and have faith in you.

I think it’s fascinating as he tells them these two stories of non Israelites naaman and the widow of Zerafath who received these incredible blessings. And after they hear that story and he’s not willing to show them the miracles without them demonstrating their faith first, they wouldn’t like the verse, you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. They don’t want that. They want the witness before they’re willing to have faith. It says they were filled with wrath. Bottom verse 28 it’s no longer just we’re going to mock you or make fun of you or better yet, just ignore you. It’s like, yeah, you really are Joseph’s son and we don’t care about you. No, they’re filled with wrath. They’re stirred up in anger.

And remember, they’re in the middle of Sunday school on the Sabbath and they’ve completely lost their minds to the point they’re like, let’s throw them off a cliff, which in Nazareth there’s some very steep cliffs where it would not be hard to throw somebody over and put them to their death.

So verse 29 has that verse and and they rose up and thrust him out of the city and let him onto the brow of the hill where on their city was built and that they might cast him down headlong. If you’re ever in a situation where you’re being persecuted for righteousness sake, for doing the right thing or standing for truth and righteousness, you’re in good company. This is something that’s going to happen repeatedly and it culminates. So all of these experiences are simply placeholder symbols for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ is going to make at the end of his ministry in his infinite atonement, where he’s doing the very best possible thing anyone could ever do in the history of eternity. And he’s going to be punished to the greatest degree possible because he’s so good. It’s a pattern that’s going to just culminate the further along we go in this story. So you find in verse 30 that he passed through the midst of them and went his way. It doesn’t say it here, but there’s clearly some miraculous something that that oliver him from this mob whose full intent is is to kill him on that day.

And these are his neighbors, these are people he knows well.

It invites me to wonder when I hear things from people that I know that are different than my expectation, do I turn to wrath and want to thrust them out? Or am I going to take the time to just verify and say, is what they’re seeing true or not. And I think there’s a good principle here that if we all just take the time to dwell on some new information before we act immediately, usually things will work out a lot better. Now that we have talked about Jesus’s visit to Nazareth, let’s take you on site where we will share additional insights and details of his experience there.

So here we are in Nazareth, just a little bit above the Church of the Enunciation.

This is the boyhood home of Jesus Christ and right behind us is a Crusader chapel built almost a thousand years ago over the remains of a synagogue. That may have been the very synagogue where Jesus as a man comes to announce his ministry in Luke chapter four.

And if that’s the same synagogue, this would be the place where Jesus was raised, coming to synagogue every Sabbath day.

This would have been his church building.

So if you can picture underneath this building the synagogue at the time of Jesus, I love the way that this is Worded in Luke, chapter four, he says, and he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up. And as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up for to read. He went to church, stood up to read, and there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book he found the place where it was written 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 broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blinds, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And then he rolls that scroll back up and hands it off and every eye is on Him as he goes and sits back down in the synagogue waiting for the reader’s interpretation. And he shocked them and he says.

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears?

And that got their attention. This to them was blasphemy because they’re looking at Jesus, Joseph’s Son, the carpenter, how could you take on this huge messianic role? It’s blasphemy. So they got up to take Him out, to throw Him headlong off of.

A precipice, but instead he passed through their midst in safety.

What an amazing thing to trust that Jesus is who he says he is, the Son of God prophesied by all the holy prophets. This is beautiful. Here we are at sunset with Nazareth in the background up on Mount Precipice, which is the traditional site for where the people brought Jesus from the synagogue to throw Him off the cliff.

Of course he passed through safely and eventually went on to Capernum where he established His Galilean ministry for a number of years. And there is where he found most of his disciples. So Jesus finds him his way over to Capernum. It might be about a day’s journey to get down to the Galilee and notice where does he go right away? He goes to the synagogue. And we’ve seen this story earlier in other episodes where he finds a man who’s possessed and Jesus uses the power that he has received from God to heal somebody. Now remember that one of the ways that Jesus proclaims that the kingdom of God is on the earth is by showing what the Kingdom of God is like. So Jesus preaches. He also heals, casts out demons, helps people have sight and hearing and health and wholeness. He brings food. So the Kingdom of God is a place of fullness of peace, of prosperity, where everybody is whole and firm. And so Jesus is giving examples as he heals people. This is what the Kingdom of God is like. It’s a sample that I am representing the Kingdom of God. This is what you can expect in the great and last day when the Kingdom of God is fully available on the earth.

Perfect. Now as as he’s in Capernaum for quite some time, it says verse 31 he was in Capernaum and he taught them on the Sabbath days. So it’s for weeks. And he once again keeps going to the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach them and probably other days of the week as well. So now comes the time he’s been baptized. He’s overcome those major temptations. He’s declared his Messiah ship in his hometown, he’s relocated. He’s begun to heal people in the synagogue. He heals Simon, Peter’s mother in law, in the end of this, chapter four. And now it’s time to call disciples. So in Luke’s account, I love his version of the calling of Peter, James and John and Andrew because he gives you a lot more detail than you get in Mark and Matthew’s account. In chapter five, verse one, it says it came to pass that as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesarat.

Just another phrase for the Sea of Galilee, by the way, the Sea of Galilee. It’s a fresh water, so it really is a very large lake.

So you can picture this setting. You can picture, if you look at the shoreline of Capernaum today, visualize a large group of people coming out of this town down to the seashore and they’re pressing upon Jesus. Now this is not drawn to scale, but picture Him being surrounded by this big group of people and he’s standing on the shoreline and there are all these people wanting to hear him teach. Verse two says and he saw two ships standing by the lake, but the fishermen were gone out of them and were washing their nets. So here off to the side, you can picture two fishing boats off to the side and the fishermen are washing their nuts on this seashore and he.

Essentially just gets into one of the boats.

Think about his sensitivity to the people. Have you ever been in a large crowd where they’re all bunched up against one person who’s who’s trying to teach? Only the first few rows of people are able to really interact with that individual and hear them well. So if Jesus gets in a boat and casts out a little bit from the land, sets down the anchor, now he can see everybody. And water has this nice acoustic feature that your voice will carry very well. Now everybody can see Him, he can look into their eyes, and they can all hear Him. So it’s a beautiful setting to remember your audience and to speak to them in a way that’s going to best connect. And Jesus is the master teacher. He’s doing that in Simon Peter’s boat. And notice, he says, that he prayed Simon, that he would thrust out a little from the land, and then he sat down and he taught the people out of the ship. So you can picture Simon sitting there listening as Jesus preaches this sermon. And when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a drought.

Now we learn, as we read Luke’s account here, telling this story, that Simon, the brother of Andrew, are in this fishing business with John and James, the sons of Zebedee. So the sons of Jonas and the sons of Zebede, they’re, they’re all in this together. We’ve got these two ships. He’s in simon’s. We learned that they’ve been out all night. They’re professional fishermen. This is their job. This is their livelihood. And they didn’t catch a single fish the night before. And apparently galilean fish, these tilapia the schools rise up to the surface to feed at night and then during the day they go back down. Professional fishermen know this. They live on these boats and this is their livelihood. They know the fishing patterns and they’ve been out all night when they should have been able to catch some fish with their nets, but they didn’t catch a single one. So I love this moment on that ship. Can you picture in your mind’s eye the gentle rocking of this little fishing boat with Jesus looking at Peter the professional fisherman, saying, peter, launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a drop?

Basically, Peter, let’s go fishing. Now, if you picture being the proverbial devil on Peter’s shoulder right here, it would not be hard to give Peter a very quick list of two dozen reasons why that would be about the dumbest thing a professional fisherman would do at that time in the late morning. You’ve been up all night, you’re tired. Apparently the schools of fish aren’t over on this part of the sea because we didn’t catch any last night when they would have been up. There’s no way any of those schools of fish are going to come up right now in mid morning. We just finished cleaning our nets. We’re kind of discouraged, we want to go home. I could give a million reasons.

I’ll add one more. We think we have pretty good evidence of where Peter’s house is in Capernaum. And if you look here, it seems to be one of the most substantive size homes in the community. So he obviously has done well for himself as a fisherman. Now, from today’s standards, probably not. So he clearly knows how to succeed in the business of fishing. And here’s this man who’s been at the synagogue preaching the words of Scripture, telling him it’s time to go fishing again.

So can you picture Peter, his response?

I think about people today like, hey, I know you want me to do something, Lord, but I can think of all the reasons why not to. And yet what do we hear? Simon Peter.

So let’s take a few minutes with this, verse five, Peter’s response, because this is ultimately you and me. This is our story. This is one of those decision critical points of life where the Lord comes with a call for you to launch out into the deep and do something that maybe doesn’t make any sense. And now we have a decision to make, just like Peter does on this occasion. So let’s see ourself. See our story as Peter now interacts with the Lord. And in scripture there’s no marker to show us pauses in speech, tone of voice usually isn’t mentioned, rate, speed of speech, facial expressions, usually it doesn’t talk about hand gestures. Occasionally it will, but not in this case. So all we’re left with is words in English that have come to us from Greek, that were spoken originally in Aramaic.

That’s all we get 2000 years ago.

2000 years ago. So we’re going to do the best we can with the English version we have today with his words. Do you think that Peter said it this way master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing. Nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see that happening because I can see Peter this or Simon this professional fisherman looking at this carpenter’s son from Nazareth and wanting him to change his mind. Now in Luke’s Gospel he’s already seen Jesus heal people in the synagogue and heal his mother in law. He knows there’s some power here. But come on, this is my boat, I know my trade, right? So I can picture Peter looking at Jesus with body language and with exasperation in his voice and exhaustion, kind of this idea of master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing. And then I can picture Peter pausing with a good long pause with the hope that Jesus will respond, saying oh really? Sorry, I wasn’t aware and I don’t know anything about fishing. So tell you what, Peter, you tell me sometime when the best time to go fishing is and I’ll come join you.

Almost as if that’s what Peter is wanting him to say. And in your mind’s eye, if that’s how it’s playing out, what would the look on the Savior’s face be as he looks back at Peter who’s just given him a really good reason why he shouldn’t launch out into the deep? I can picture a look of and what’s your point, Peter? What are you going to do? Because I’m not rescinding the invitation or in some cases the command or the call. And I can picture this moment of resolve for Peter on that gently rocking boat in that Sea of Galilee 2000 years ago. As he sees resolve possibly on the face of the Savior, I can picture that moment of a heart softening. And then he says, nevertheless, at thy word, I will let down the net. You’ll notice he didn’t say, nevertheless, it is a good idea, it makes perfect sense and I’m going to go let down the net. He says, at thy word. Jesus, I trust you. That’s the only reason I’m launching out into the deep. On one occasion, Elder Jeffrey Rholland, mentioning this amazing apostolic call for Peter, said something along the lines of peter had no idea how deep Jesus was inviting him to launch, how deep that ministry was going to take Peter into things that Peter the fisherman had no idea about.

And so we launch out into the deep. But there’s a difference. Last night when they didn’t catch anything, they were doing their very best work as professional fishermen. But this morning Jesus is on their boat. There’s something different. When the Lord Jesus Christ is involved in work that he commands you to do, they let out the net and it is instantly filled with this incredible catch of fish so big that it says their net break.

I remember years ago a beloved teacher of the scriptures pointed out that at this point in the ministry that Peter has been called into, he was capable of catching. And yet the nets break if you fast forward all the way to after Jesus is resurrected. There’s a similar story where Peter cast down his net at the word of God and it’s a big massive haul and the net did not break. And this teacher said, might this be a symbol that Peter truly is now fully prepared to be a fisher of men and to not let any go?

That’s a beautiful insight. So here’s Simon Peter, and we have this huge catch of fish and he beckoned under their partners, James and John, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came and filled both the ships so that they began to sink. So we have history’s biggest catch probably on the Sea of Galilee, and we’re limping these two boats that are beginning to sink back to shore. And when we come to shore Simon Peter saw it and he fell down at Jesus’s knee saying depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord. I’m not worthy of this. I don’t know what’s happening here but I’m not worthy of it. I’m a sinful man and I love that moment when Jesus invites them with the phrase fear not. It’s not just fear not the work, fear not people. It could also be fear not your own sense of unworthiness, your own your own feelings of inadequacy. Fear not from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land they forsook all and followed him. Fascinating that you have these two boatloads of fish that they’re not going to go to waste, the families, the fathers and they have people who are going to be able to sell these fish to the processing plant down in Magdala where they salt the fish and then ship them off to Rome.

They are going to make a significant amount of money off of this which is a nice little touch for these four men who are now going to embark with this itinerant preacher and follow him around and not be able to help their fathers in the fishing business. It’s a nice touch that Jesus provides this safety net, so to speak for the families at the outset of the ministry of these four apostles who become very critically important in the stories that unfolds. Now many of you at this point are thinking, wow that’s a delightful story about a discipleship and it is. But more importantly it’s a delightful story about discipleship. It’s a story about your discipleship and my discipleship and our willingness to drop everything at the feet of the Savior and to follow him. David you see the reality that Jesus didn’t come to Peter, James, John and Andrew at the beginning of the day early in the morning before teaching the crowd when they have spent all night out on the ship catching nothing. They’re probably discouraged. Their muscles are cramped, they’re exhausted. They’re ready to go home and say that was a terrible night.

Let’s go to sleep and try again tomorrow. That would be the perfect time to say are you frustrated with your profession? Do you want me to give you something a little more exciting? No. He waited until their nets were full and then he came to them because now there’s going to be a sacrifice involved. There’s going to be a price that they pay for their discipleship as they forsake their ships and their nets to follow Jesus. It’s going to cost them something and it’s going to mean more to them when they follow him and get to experience all these things that he has waiting for them in the ministry.

So as this chapter continues there is a succession of miracles demonstrating who Jesus is and ultimately how he wants to heal people, societies, the world. And this is again the expression that the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven is at hand because we see it in the lives of people that have interacted with Jesus Christ.

So you have a couple of critical points here in these last, the last half of Luke, chapter five. Let’s pick up verse 16. He withdrew Himself into the wilderness and prayed. You’re going to see that theme. We’ve talked about it before. We’re going to see it again. Jesus knows that he can’t do what he needs to do on his own. Even the greatest person to ever walk the Earth is setting aside time to connect with Heavenly Father, to go out and commune with God in a wilderness apart from people. And his fame is spreading abroad. You’ve got a lot of people following Him and bringing people to be healed and to be taught by Him. And he’s still in the middle of all of that popularity and, and the height of this rush of people following Him. He still finds time to connect meaningfully with God. And that’s a beautiful principle. And verse 17, it says, it came to pass on a certain day as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the loss sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

I wanted to point that verse out because sometimes when we speak of these stories in the New Testament, we lump certain groups altogether and paint them all with a broad brush and slap a label on them. And the word Pharisee doesn’t usually get translated by people in our culture today as, oh, these are good people. Usually that’s a very negative label to put on somebody. And yet I love that Luke, the physician is the one who’s pointing out, no, there are actually a whole group of Pharisees and doctors of the law who are sitting by and they’re not questioning Jesus, they’re not arguing with Jesus, they’re listening to Him. And they’re coming from all the regions of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. I like that because it reminds me to not be so quick to pass judgment on people because they might belong to a certain group or have certain characteristics that in the past I would say, oh, they’re all the same, all the Pharisees aren’t the same, all the doctors aren’t the same. To be sure, there are some terrible Pharisees that we’re going to run into down the road and some scribes and lawyers, but not this group.

So the next story helps us to see the power that Jesus has to bring wholeness not just to bodies, but to souls. This is a super compelling story.

Yeah. So keep in mind his popularity has been rising and so he’s in a home in Capernaum. And the people are thronging him. And because of this multitude, there comes this group of four men carrying a man sick of the palsy. So it’s paralysis. We don’t know whether he’s a quadriplegic or a paraplegic. We just know he’s not able to walk himself and so they’re carrying him. Can you imagine what it’s like for these four men who have gone to great effort and great length to bring their friend or their family member to Christ because they’ve heard Jesus can heal him, so they bring him, but they can’t get him in?

It’s such a big crowd. I love their pragmatism and their creativity, their innovation. They’re like, oh, we understand how ancient Israelite homes are built. We’ll just climb up to the roof and they’re pretty flat roofs. You can let them down in through the roof. And I also love jesus is also the master teacher. Now, if you have ever been in a teaching environment, have you ever been significantly disrupted in the teaching environment? And if so, how did you react? Did you welcome the disruption? Did you treat the disruption with kindness and love? You will see in the Scriptures when Jesus multiple times gets disrupted right in the middle of a teaching act, and he deals with things with such grace and love, and he makes it an additional teaching moment. And this is one of those times.

Yeah, this is amazing. Can you just in your mind’s eye picture yourself being this man with palsy? This is a very vulnerable position to be in. People are carrying you on this stretcher of some sort up onto the roof, breaking away some of the tiles to make room, to lower you down. This is intimidating as you’re lowered down, and now you can picture this moment of anticipation. You have been lowered into this house at the feet of this man, Jesus of Nazareth, who everybody has been telling you he’s going to heal you. And you can picture that moment as if there’s a proverbial drum roll going on. And instead of hearing, Rise, take up thy bed and walk, this man hears, man, thy sins are forgiven thee. At that point, can you picture what the four men up on top are thinking as they hear that and what the man himself is thinking? Thanks, but that’s not really why I came. Are you noticing those messianic expectations not being met again, but being superseded by something way more important? There’s a powerful principle to keep in mind when we talk about the miracles of Jesus.

Physical miracles are very temporary. So you have these amazing outpourings of God’s power and the display of his capacity, and there’s the physical aspect, but with miracles, there’s also a spiritual component. Now, I don’t want to minimize the physical miracles because that would be inappropriate. We pray for physical miracles. We love it when they happen. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, how long does a physical miracle last. It’s very temporary. It will last until this man dies. If he’s healed, and maybe even before he dies, he might get in another he might fall and have another accident and be paralyzed again tomorrow or next week or next year or ten years from now. But for sure, when he dies, that physical miracle will be complete because all physical maladies will be fixed in the resurrection for everybody. So you see that everybody involved in that miracle was expecting and waiting for and excited about a physical miracle. That is really important. Don’t get me wrong, but Jesus went first to a spiritual miracle that doesn’t have a clock ticking on it. It’s not mortal. It doesn’t need to ever go away or die or be taken away.

Man thy sins are forgiven thee. If you had to pick between the two miracles, you want to go with that one every time in an eternal context. And so I find it fascinating that you have these Pharisees and scribes who are there in verse 21 and they began to reason, saying, who is this which speaketh blasphemy who can forgive sins but God alone? And of course, the irony here is they don’t recognize that God did just forgive sin and he is the only one on the earth who had the right, the power and the authority to do it. And he did. They just don’t recognize him as God. Their messianic expectations are different, so they missed Him. And then Jesus teaches a very powerful principle here when Jesus perceived their thoughts. So the implication here from Luke is that he didn’t even hear them. He’s reading their thoughts, knowing the the intent of their mind and their heart. And then he asks them a very.

Profound question what reason ye in your hearts? Now to verse 23, whether it is easier to say thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Rise up and walk, but that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins. And he said unto the sick of the palsy, I sand to thee, arise and take up thy couch and go into thy house. And immediately he rose up before them and took up that whereupon he lay and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorify God and were filled with fear, saying, we have seen strange things today.

So to look at some of these concepts that Lucas is sharing with you, look at verse 23. The the Joseph translation in this case doesn’t change the meaning he I love that some of these these additions or or adjustments that Joseph makes to the text simply make it easier to understand that’s all it is here. He says, does it require more power to forgive sins than to make the sick rise up and walk? He’s basically saying, look, which one’s harder? Is it harder to say rise up and walk? Or to say thy sins be forgiven thee. And obviously it’s way harder to say rise up and walk, because you have to have the person rise up and walk. But if I say thy sins be forgiven thee, there’s no outward measure of whether or not that actually happened. So he uses a physical miracle and shows physical power over the flesh here, this disease, to validate and verify that he has power to forgive sin. This is a turning point in his ministry to say, no, I’m not just here to take care of the physical things. I’m here to do all of it. We don’t have to minimize the physical in trying to elevate the spiritual.

But sometimes we forget this aspect. And the miracle ends with another aspect of spiritual miracle. Because the people don’t end up glorifying Jesus directly in this moment. They glorify God and they’re filled with fear or the concept of awe and respect. And we’ve seen strange things today. So before we move on to the next story here, take a moment and just think to yourself, where am I in that story? And when in my life have I been like this man with the palsy who couldn’t do certain things for myself? I had to rely on others to bring me to Christ or to do things for me. And then, as I come to him, did I recognize him? Or am I recognizing Him right now with things that you have going on in your life? Because many of you are having experiences right now where you feel paralyzed to one degree or another. And if you look around and recognize people who are helping you, it’s amazing. True friends will bring you to Christ. And now, if you take the other role, what if you went to church this Sunday with the thought in your heart and a prayer in your soul of Heavenly Father, who needs me to help carry them and to lift their burdens and to help bring them closer to the Savior so that they can be forgiven of their sins and to fill of his love and experience his miracles.

It’s powerful if we cannot just understand these miracles in their 2000 year old context, but try to take them more personally, if you will, to apply them to us and see ourselves in these different characters.

So then Luke brings us to the story of Levi, otherwise known as Matthew being called as a disciple, verse 27. We get a bit of background on who he is. And after these things, Jesus went forth and saw a publican. Now, these are the tax collectors named Levi sitting at the receipt of custom. And he said unto him, follow me. Now, I studied a lot of human history. I don’t know of a time where people had super strong positive feelings around tax collectors. Have you ever heard a story? So Lehi or Matthew was in this interesting situation where he’s collecting taxes. People don’t like paying taxes of any type. And we’re not exactly sure what kind of tax collector he was. But he may have been perhaps like border control, customs, tax collection fiasco. Purdum was on this international highway that goes up into Syria and it was on a provincial border. So imagine a state border or a country border. And as people would be traveling from one place to another, they’d have to pay taxes on the goods that they were bringing in or out of different provinces. So this may have been his job.

We don’t know exactly. But what’s interesting is that Jesus will call his disciples from any walk of life and you wonder how did all the disciples who come from very different backgrounds feel about one another? Now, we all assume at this point they all must have been best friends. But it’s interesting to consider, was there a need for the disciples to learn how to get along with one another and to be a cohesive unit? It turns out later in the story there’s this Passover mill and there’s a bit of jockeying going on about who is the privileged or the favorite disciple. Now, this is a common thing among humans. We want to know that we are the favorite one. Even among my kids I have two kids I like to tell my daughter she’s my favorite daughter and my son. You’re my favorite son. I can get away with that. Jesus, we are all his favorites. But as I listen to this call of lehi who came from a position that other people may not have felt like, you know what, he kind of has violated the expectations of our culture because he’s collecting taxes.

He shouldn’t be somebody who’s out preaching the gospel, trying to declare the good news of the kingdom. That isn’t the kind of disciple Jesus should choose. And Jesus chose him anyway. So I think it’s an invitation for you and for me. God calls us from whatever station we’re in, no matter our past. He calls us to the table of discipleship. And we probably shouldn’t have to give too much heed to people who may think maybe we don’t belong as disciples because Jesus has invited us. We do belong.

That’s powerful. So let’s finish with the actual words in that interchange. Very simple. Bottom of verse 27, Jesus saying to Levi, follow me. I think those words are just as applicable today for you and for me as they were for Levi 2000 years ago in Capernaum. And I love what he does in verse 28. And he left all he walked away from one of the most lucrative jobs for a Jewish person in the first century that I think they could have had. He left all rose up and followed Jesus. That is our hope and our prayer, not just for us and our families, but for as many people in the world as possible to be able to forsake the things. Let go of the things of the world and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ and those calls that he gives us to come. Follow me and we leave that with you. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Know that you’re loved.

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