“When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him…” Matthew 8:1……………..
If you’re anything like I am, perhaps you hurry through the beginning words of a sentence, or a paragraph, a chapter, or a book, figuring the details, description, and introduction aren’t as important, and exciting, as the “meat” of the story or the “meat” of the news. So you rush on to get to the point. To the gist of it all. Oh, how much I have missed in life doing this. Most especially, how much I have missed in the Bible when I rush through God’s Word. Take, for instance, the scripture above. If you read the verse in context, the beginning of the chapter is not about Jesus leaving behind the mountain, nor is it about multiples of people following Him. This just introduces what is to come, or so it seems. But every single word of God’s Word bears significance. Quickly God’s Word in this case turns to the leper who wanted cleansing, but please don’t miss the significance of the verse above.
When people knew Jesus came down the mountain, countless people FOLLOWED HIM. They stopped and dropped and turned away from everything they were doing, from the busyness of their lives, from their absolutely everything and turned their full attention to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am deeply concerned countless people today, including countless people who attend church on a regular basis, and countless people who do not, would not even recognize the Lord Jesus Christ today if He came into their midst. And, even if they recognized Him, would they stop everything they’re doing to follow Him? Or, would their lives and their own wishes, ways, and wants, plans, dreams, and agendas, calendars and schedules, appointment times and such matter more than the Lord, than with being in His presence, than with spending time with Him, than with learning from Him and denying self to obey Him, than with making Him their absolute highest priority no matter the cost to their flesh?
I used to be one of these people. I called Jesus Lord, I told the world I believed in Him, I prayed and went to church and such. The truth was I was lord over my own life. I lived for me and this world, not for God according to His ways. I wouldn’t have recognized Him coming down the mountain because I knew so little about Him because He wasn’t my highest priority and I didn’t have a rock solid personal relationship with Him and because I hadn’t truly given the whole of my life to Him. And I likely wouldn’t have followed Him because I wouldn’t have been willing to die to my own dreams and desires and to sacrifice my own wants and ways to live for Him.
How precious few people it seems in this present time have truly given Jesus Christ their all in all. The Lord used some tough trials in my life to draw me to Himself, He wooed me and drew me ever closer to Himself, He gave me a hunger and thirst for Him unimaginable, and I dove headfirst into His Word and into a life devoted utterly to Him. No matter the cost to my flesh, no matter how much I have had to sacrifice to be His full-fledged follower, now that I know Him intimately, as Lord, Savior, master, God, healer, redeemer, and on and on, I wouldn’t go back for anything in the world. He is mine, and I am His (Song of Solomon 2:16).
And if Jesus Christ came down a mountain today, I would recognize Him because He’s the love of my life and I am wholly dedicated to Him day in and day out. And I would follow Him even at the expense of giving up the pleasures of this life to live in obedience to Him because once you have tasted and seen of the Lord personally and intimately, to know what it looks like and feels like to be in His presence, there’s nothing in this world wonderful enough to even possibly compare to the wonder and splendor and majesty and awesomeness and beauty and loveliness and pleasure and joy and hope and peace and mercy and comfort and compassion and excitement and thrill and adventure of the Lord Jesus Christ and of being in His company forevermore.