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This morning, we’re continuing where we left off last week in the evening service as we see Jesus healing every sickness and every disease of the crowds of people following Him.

Matthew 8:16-34

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah (53):

“He took up our infirmities

    and bore our diseases.”

The very next verse in Isaiah says:

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

    and by his wounds we are healed.

This brought to my attention an interesting aspect to prophecy.  Here we have a prophetic word given by Isaiah about Jesus.  Living on this side of history, when I read Isaiah 53 verses 3 and 4, I always read them as one word and always believed that it was fulfilled on the cross.

According to Matthew, “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases” was being fulfilled before Jesus even picked up the cross to carry it.  Jesus taking up our infirmities and bearing our diseases was happening as He went about healing people from them.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever and Jesus always has been, is now, and always will be our healer.

This part of the prophetic word happened before He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, punished to bring us peace, and wounded to heal us.

So, if you’ve been given a prophetic word and a part of it came to pass, but the rest of it did not, it may just be that the time has not yet come for the rest of its fulfillment.

Don’t give up on every word and promise from God for they will never fail.  It’s not over yet, there is still hope and God is still at work!  Paul wrote to Timothy this very reminder:

1 Timothy 1:18-19

18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.

Recall those prophecies and keep fighting the good fight of the faith!  To follow Jesus is a whole-life commitment.  It requires us to trust Him and to let go of our own opinions.

For example, Jesus was healing the sick, driving out demons, and fulfilling the prophetic word that Isaiah spoke about Him.  The crowd kept growing of people who needed healing, deliverance, and people who wanted to hear the teachings of Jesus. 

We would think that this is a good thing and that Jesus would keep ministering to the needs of those who were coming to Him.  We would think that Jesus would encourage the growth of the crowd and be excited about it.  However, Jesus responded in an unexpected way.

18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake.

Jesus instead left the crowds and got ready to cross a lake.  Then, Jesus responds in another unexpected way.

19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

The choice to follow Jesus is not one to be made as just an emotional response in the heat of the moment.  The choice to become a disciple of Jesus and to follow Him is one that is to be thoughtfully considered.

In fact, there is another time when Jesus spoke very directly to the crowds with this same concern.  Often in our culture, we measure success by the size of the crowds and the numbers of those in attendance.  Though it is true that a healthy church should be growing, Jesus valued commitment more than the numbers in the crowd.

Luke 14:25-35

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

No, Jesus isn’t teaching here that you have to literally hate your families or even hate yourself to be a Christian.  In fact, He told us that the second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves.  He’s just using strong language to get the point across that to follow Him is to be willing to put God first and no one or nothing else, even our own selves, above or beside Him in priority.  That’s the command to have no other gods before Him.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.  “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

When we choose to follow Jesus, He wants us to first count the cost.  Of course, when comparing anything that we could sacrifice in this lifetime with the all that He is offering to us, there really is no comparison.  However, He wants us to be intentional about the choice that we’re not making.  He doesn’t want us to get tripped up the way that the Israelites did decades through the wilderness thinking back to the good ‘ole days of slavery back in Egypt or like Lot’s wife who got all salty about leaving Sodom and Gomorrah.  In fact, Jesus said:

Luke 9:62

“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

When following Jesus, you are sure to enter into an adventure.  You never know quite what is ahead of you, but it’s sure to be interesting.  Receiving Jesus’ salvation isn’t the beginning of a life of ease.  It’s the beginning of a life of battles, but also a life of victory.  It’s the beginning of a full and abundant life.  It’s an empowered life to demolish the work of the devil!  It’s the beginning of healing and deliverance and those certainly do not come without a fight!

His disciples were soon to figure that out!

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.

Now one would think that the safest place in the world to be is in the boat with Jesus, right?  Well, it’s true, but that doesn’t necessarily mean what we think it means.  Again, to follow Jesus is not to live a life free from storms, it is to live a life empowered to bring peace to the storms of life!

24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.

This is probably the greatest picture of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding that we can find.  Jesus was sleeping in the middle of a furious storm in the middle of a lake in the middle of a sinking boat with everyone around Him frantically fearing for their lives.

25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

I think the disciples missed the whole point of what Jesus said to them as He woke.  “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Sometimes the very things that we fear are the things that we are to rebuke.

They were amazed at the kind of man that Jesus was, but they missed the point of the kind of men that Jesus knew that they were.  According to Jesus, they were the kind of men who could also rebuke the winds and waves and watch the storm obey them.  All that they needed was a little faith.

What storms are stirring up fear in our lives?  Instead of fearing them, perhaps we need to start rebuking them!  Tell them how great your God is.  Tell those storms the promises of God that far exceed the troubles that they are stirring up.  Tell that fear to “GO!” in Jesus’ name and allow the peaceful calm to return to your life.

It’s time to transfer tear-filled nights to declarations of victory.  It’s time to rise up in faith that there is nothing too hard for our God!  It’s time to rise up in faith and speak life into the dark places of our lives.  It’s time to rise up in faith and start applying the victory that Jesus purchased for us through the authority given to us!

Today is a new day where the storms of life that used to cause us to fear will begin to fear us!

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