FOLLOWING IN THE PATH OF THE DIVINE….GALILEE (Part 6 of 10).
“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. And saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15).
All things have been fulfilled and readied for Jesus to enter into his ministry of service. John the Baptist ministry has decreased and Jesus ministry of service is increasing. Jesus enters Galilee with all power and authority to fulfill the will of his Father. He has been anointed to preach the gospel; heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recover the sight of the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus has all of this power and authority; and he chooses to share his glory with fisherman, tax collectors and others who are considered sinners and low class. He began his ministry in Galilee, by inviting four fisherman to join him, in one of the most historic and life changing events recorded in human history. The Lord opened his ministry to those who were willing to accompany him in faith and without hesitation.
“Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17). Jesus spoke these few words, and four fishermen left everything they knew, and followed Jesus in faith, into an unknown future. “Straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.” (Mark 1:18). He does not tell them where they are going, and he does not tell them his future plans for making them fishers of men. He simply makes them a promise and they believed him. We certainly can argue that they may had known about Jesus before he arrived, and many other points. But the fact is, they followed him and left their jobs, families, friends and their comforts, to become spiritual pillars of faith for the kingdom of God. This is the response that should be rendered when Jesus calls us to join him in his ministry. All things are to be forsaken. Many may receive the call to serve Christ, but they pack all of their life’s luggage with them. We cannot serve God and mammon, we will love one and hate the other. The two services will never cooperate with the other: and it will clearly be noticeable in our ministries when we try to combine the two. When Jesus calls us, he calls us to leave our nets, the things that we are tangled up in, and follow him with our whole heart.
The first four disciples Jesus called were, Simon, also known as Peter, and Andrew, Peter’s brother. He also called James and John, who were also brothers. What makes this selection interesting is that he selected brothers. These men had a bond with each other. They were family and they were raised in the same household. They followed the same rules and managed to work together. It is important to note that in Christ, we are family, and we are all given the same commandments. We should be able to work together side by side in the ministry of service. Sadly, so many in the ministry of Christ are working so desperately to elevate themselves. They don’t want to help anyone or see anyone increasing in their ministry. When John complained to Jesus about someone else doing good works. Jesus had an answer for John. “And John said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, ‘Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.’” (Luke 9-49-50). Why does one Christian try to stop another Christian from doing God’s work? I have witnessed and been a victim of so much jealousy and criticism in the ministry. We are a family in Christ, and we all SHOULD have the same soul saving purpose. It’s not about us, it’s about the kingdom of God! So stop criticizing and trying to find fault in others! The truth is, anyone is who guilty of this ungodly behavior is exposing their envy, jealousy and disobedience! We are called to work together. Jesus displayed a communal environment in his ministry: and that is what the Lord expects from his disciples.
The disciples Jesus called in Galilee were from the same backgrounds. They were fishermen. These men were knowledgeable of the diversity of fishes. They knew where to cast their nets and what bait to use to catch each variety. In a sense, they were already prepared to cast their hooks and nets. Only now, they had to learn to use a new fishing doctrine. The doctrine of the kingdom of God, which is to be used to excite the hearts of men, to bite into the gospel of salvation. As they travelled with Jesus they would learn a new doctrine. A doctrine that would turn the world upside down, and deliver sinners from eternal damnation. In Galilee, Jesus began to build up his ministry of service, so that the “gates of hell could not prevail against it.” Galilee is where new the Disciples of Christ learned the fundamentals of evangelism. One of the reasons many are called to be evangelist is because they know about diversity. It is so important to be careful when we are evangelizing. We cannot catch a heart for Christ without the loving Word of God. We can’t expect lost souls to come near God with hostile words and a judgmental approach. The ministry of teaching and development comes after they are saved. We have to learn in Galilee the method of love that Jesus used to call us to himself. Galilee is a place where the Master calls the student, and the student follows in faith without knowing his future ministry appointment.
Following in the path of the Divine through Galilee, brings us to the understanding that one must be called by Jesus. It is only then that the baptism of the Holy Spirit will be certain. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (John 3:11). There were many who were baptized by John the Baptist, but that did not mean that they were CALLED! So many in the church were baptized because they were trying to please someone, or simply out of family tradition. Their reason for being baptized was not because they were called by God. Christianity is not inherited, it is a conscious decision to leave your nets and follow Jesus! One cannot inherit the benefits in Christ, which is the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts, without a proposal from Christ! There can be no wedding without a proposal. There are many who are on the pulpits and sitting in the pews, who have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Thus, being the one of the reasons for the discord in the ministry. We cannot do any spiritual works without the baptism of the Holy Spirit. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
The question now is, have you been called by Jesus to leave Galilee or have you appointed yourself in a ministry? We must wait for Jesus to call us, and appoint us to work with him in his ministry of service. It is not up to us to choose what area of ministry we want to render service. We are all uniquely designed by God to serve according to his will and purpose. Have you heard the voice of Jesus calling you in Galilee to come and follow him? Whether the call came through a song, a tug in your heart, or a message you heard. If you have, you will be groomed and baptized with Holy Spirit and fire to walk with Jesus and become fishers of men.
For the record, this message is for all those who are waiting in Galilee for Jesus to appoint them in the ministry of service. God bless you and amen!
Written by Reverend Jessica L. Matthews, Missionary Pastor