Rejected By Familiarity & Relationship

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ which was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the thirty-first verse of the fourth chapter and continues through to the eleventh verse of the fifth chapter. “And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” (Luke 4:31-32).

            “And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art: the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about” (Luke 4:32-37).

            “And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over er, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ” (Luke 4:38-41).

            “And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee” (Luke 4:42-44).

            “And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, 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. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (Luke 5:1-11).

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will quickly and immediately notice a powerful transition taking place within Jesus’ movement and activity in the region of Galilee. We know from the fourth chapter that Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost when departing from the waters of the Jordan River after He was baptized upon John. We know that immediately after Jesus had emerged from the waters of the Jordan River, and immediately after the heavens were opened, the Spirit descended in bodily form as a dove upon Jesus, and after the voice of the Father declared and proclaimed that this was His beloved Son the Holy Spirit would take and lead Jesus into the wilderness. It would be there in the wilderness where Jesus would indeed and would in fact be temped of the devil—something which all three synoptic gospel authors wrote about, but which only the apostle Matthew and Luke actually go into detail to describe. What is so absolutely incredible and astonishing about this is that when the temptation was over the beloved physician Luke writes and records that Jesus returned to Galilee full of the Holy Ghost and from that moment on began teaching in the synagogues. I feel it necessary to pause for a moment and declare and describe to you who might be reading these words that it is one thing to enter into the temptation full of the Holy Ghost, however, it is something else entirely and altogether different to come out of the temptation still full of the Holy Ghost. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we as the disciples of Christ must needs realize, recognize and understand that just because we enter into the temptation full of the Holy Ghost, and just because we have gone through and experienced temptation—that doesn’t mean that when we come out of the temptation we need to somehow be emptied of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps one of the greatest and most powerful truths we can realize and recognize is that the Holy Spirit’s presence within your life does not have to decrease, nor does it have to diminish simply because you have gone through and experienced temptation.

            There would be those who would think—perhaps even believe within their hearts—that when they go through temptations of various kinds and measures they have to somehow be void of the Holy Spirit. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are those among us right now who have entered into the temptation(s) they have faced full of the Holy Spirit, and somehow in the midst of those temptations they have lost all or a portion of the Holy Spirit’s presence, power and person within their lives. If there one thing I find absolutely remarkable and astonishing when I think about and consider the language that is found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke it’s that not only did Jesus enter into the wilderness and enter into the temptation full of the Holy Ghost, but even after the temptation had ended Jesus exited the wilderness still full of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus depart from the wilderness and depart from the temptation full of the Holy Ghost, but Scripture also records that He returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Ghost. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that when Jesus first left Galilee for the waters of the Jordan there is no mention of the Holy Ghost descending upon Him, nor the person, presence and the Holy Spirit being present within His life. Scripture seems to indicate that it was at the Jordan River where the Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus in the bodily form as a dove. This would seem to indicate that from that moment on the Holy Ghost’s presence and power was active and present within and upon the life and person of Jesus the Christ. Stop and consider the fact that when Jesus departed from Galilee that first time He would depart having not yet experience the person of the Holy Ghost descending upon Him and the Father giving the Spirit to Him without measure, however, when He would return to Galilee He would be full of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that even after the Holy Spirit had descended upon Jesus at the waters of the Jordan River He would not immediately be permitted to return unto Galilee. According to Scripture you will find that even after the Spirit had descended upon Him Jesus needed to be driven into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome and incredible language that is found within the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by Luke and I can’t help but be reminded of the fact that just because we have entered into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit—that doesn’t mean that we have to, nor were even destined to depart from the wilderness absent the presence, the person and the power of that same Spirit. The wilderness was never designed, nor was it intended to drive out, decrease and/or even diminish the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Ghost from your life. The person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit was never intended on being removed from your life by, through and because of the wilderness and your time within it. There have been those who have entered into the wilderness even after being filled with the Holy Spirit, and as a direct result of what happened to them in the wilderness they have somehow departed from it with the person and presence of the Holy Spirit decreasing and diminishing from their lives. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—I feel it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to the fact that the wilderness was never designed, nor was it intended on causing the person, the presence, and the power of the Holy Spirit to decrease, diminish and even depart from your life. It would be very easy to think about and consider the fact that the wilderness could be attributed—perhaps even blamed—for the decrease and diminishing of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives, and yet that was never, nor is it ever the divine purpose and will of the Father. We have a great need to realize, recognize and understand this, for it draws and calls our attention to something which we must needs realize and understand. There is something truly astonishing and remarkable when we think about and consider this, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful reality that we have indeed been called to retain the full measure of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives—even after we have entered, journeyed through, and come out of the wilderness.

            The more I think about this particular reality the more I can’t help but think about the fact that even after Jesus had walked through the temptation of the devil in the wilderness, He was able to depart from the wilderness and from the temptation still full of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Spirit. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it draws and calls our attention to the absolutely incredible truth that the Holy Spirit’s presence within our lives must not and should not ever be decreased, nor should it ever diminish from our lives simply because we have passed through temptation. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that it’s possible for you to come out of the temptation and come out of the wilderness just as full of the Holy Spirit as you were when you entered and walked through and within it? Would you be surprised if I told you that the trial which you have found yourself walking through was not meant, nor was it designed and intended to decrease and diminish the presence of the Holy Spirit within your life? I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a great need within our lives to fully recognize and understand that the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and lives must never be decreased, nor diminished simply because of the trials we have gone through. What’s more, is that there has never been any test we have found ourselves walking through that has ever been designed and intended by the Father to somehow cause the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to be diminished from within our lives. We must needs realize, recognize and understand how absolutely incredible and awesome this truly is, for while it is indeed and is in fact true that there has no temptation come upon you such as what is common to man—it is also true that there has no temptation come upon such as should decrease and diminish the power, the presence and the person of the Holy Spirit from within your life.

            Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not the tests, the trials, the troubles and the temptations we have faced within our lives have somehow caused the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to be diminished and decreased within our lives. I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is absolutely no temptation experienced on this earth that should have the power and authority to decrease the manifestation and reality of the Holy Spirit within your heart and life. What’s more, is that I am greatly convinced that there is absolutely no trial nor any trouble that should ever decrease and diminish the power and presence of the Holy Spirit within your life. If the Father brought you into the temptation full of the Holy Spirit then you can rest assure and be confident in the fact that the Father also intends on bringing you out of the temptation still full of the Holy Spirit. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this reality and how incredibly true and powerful it is, for it calls and draws our attention to the unbelievable truth that there has never been any temptation we have faced and walked through which should decrease the person and the presence of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and lives. Oh I firmly believe within my heart and spirit there are men and women right now who desperately need to hear these words and to truly commit them to their heart and mind. There are men and women among us right now who have entered into temptation(s) full of the Holy Spirit, and for one reason or another that temptation has somehow diminished and decreased the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit within their lives. Please note that this wasn’t something that was intentionally allowed, nor even something they might be readily aware of, but something that happened as a direct result of them walking through and experiencing the temptation. We have a great need to think about and consider just how incredible and tremendous this reality truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that just because we have walked through temptation(s), that doesn’t mean that we have to experience the decrease and diminishing of the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and lives.

            Oh I can’t help but think about the fact that it has always been and will always be the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God to not only bring us into the temptation full of the Holy Spirit, but also sustain the person and presence of the Holy Spirit while in the midst of the temptation, and even to bring us out of the temptation full of the Holy Spirit. If there is one thing I absolutely love about the narrative of Jesus—and not only how it was demonstrated and manifested within His life, but also how it is a pattern, model and example for our lives—is that while it is true that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit as He entered into the wilderness, and while it is true that He returned from the wilderness STILL full of the Holy Spirit, that means the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit was indeed and was in fact sustained within His life throughout the temptation and in the wilderness. It wasn’t that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit after emerging from the waters of the Jordan River, and it wasn’t that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit as He was led by the same Spirit into the wilderness, but it was also true that the Holy Spirit’s presence, person and power remained within and upon the life and person of Jesus the Christ. It would be one thing for Jesus to enter into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit and to somehow be filled once more with the Holy Spirit after coming through and out of the wilderness after the temptation, however, it is something else entirely and altogether different for the presence of the Holy Spirit to remain within Jesus throughout and during the entire wilderness experience. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for when we read the narrative that is found surrounding the person and presence of Jesus in the wilderness we are brought face to face with the fact that the presence and power of the Holy Spirit remained within Jesus throughout the temptations and throughout the forty days in the wilderness. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that not only was Jesus full of the Holy Spirit upon entering into the wilderness, but Jesus retained the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within and upon His life throughout those forty days of being in the wilderness.

            Dear brother, dear sister—stop and consider the fact that not only did Jesus depart from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit, and not only did Jesus enter into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit, but the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit was sustained within His life during the entire forty day period of time. I fully realize and recognize there are those who might be reading these words who might have walked through certain trials and tests for an extended period of time. I think about those who have battled and dealt with various types of sickness and illness—especially those which are life threatening. I am reminded about those who haven’t necessarily dealt with such realities within their own life, but they have dealt with them in the lives of others—those friends, family members and loved ones who have gone through something within their lives. There are those among us who have gone through and experienced a prolonged period of time of temptation, trials, trouble and tests—perhaps even as great in number as the forty days in which Jesus was in the wilderness. The reason I mention and bring this up is because it is absolutely astonishing and remarkable to think about the fact that for Jesus to emerge from the wilderness just as full of the Holy Ghost as He was when He entered the wilderness means that the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit within His life was sustained during those forty days, was sustained during the wilderness, and was even sustained during the temptation. Stop and consider the fact that it is possible for the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to be sustained during the temptation(s) within our lives; it is possible for the person and presence of the Holy Spirit to be sustained when and as we walk through the wilderness within our lives, and it is possible for the person and presence of the Holy Spirit to be sustained within our lives during extended periods of time—even in the midst of trials, tests, tribulation and troubles.

            I absolutely love what is written and recorded within this portion of Scripture, for it highlights and underscores the awesome and tremendous truth surrounding the fact that not only can the person and presence of the Holy Spirit be sustained when and while we enter into the wilderness, and not only can the person and presence of the Holy Spirit be sustained in the midst of temptation, but the person and presence of the Holy Spirit can indeed be sustained even over a prolonged over an extended period of time. Stop and think about the fact that Jesus would have entered emerged from the waters of the Jordan River full of the Holy Ghost and Jesus would have been led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He would be for the next forty days. We don’t know how much time elapsed from the time Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River until the time the Spirit led Him into the wilderness, however, we do know for a fact that Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering how Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days without eating, and it would be during that entire period of time the person and presence of the Holy Spirit would not only sustain Him, but would also be sustained within His life. It is truly astonishing to think about and consider the fact that not only would the Holy Spirit sustain Jesus during those forty days in the wilderness, but the Holy Spirit also sustained Him during and over those forty days without food. Oh that we would recognize and realize that the person and presence of the Holy Spirit sustained Jesus over an extended period of time, the Holy Spirit sustained Jesus as He fasted forty days, and the Holy Spirit sustained Jesus in the midst of the temptation of Satan. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome truth surrounding the Holy Spirit sustaining Jesus during this period of time, as well as the Holy Spirit being sustained within the life of Jesus throughout His time in the wilderness, and even after He emerged from the wilderness.

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must needs realize, recognize and understand is that there is absolutely no temptation we face and go through that is or was designed to decrease and diminish the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives. Regardless of what trials we have faced and gone through without our lives we must needs realize and understand that there has never been a single trial that has ever been permitted to enter into our lives and given the authority and permission to decrease the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within our lives. What’s more, is there is absolutely no tribulation that has ever been, nor ever will be intended to decrease and diminish the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit within our lives. I absolutely love the words which are written and recorded in the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome, for it powerfully demonstrates the reality that there is absolutely nothing that can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus toward us. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible this truly is, for I am absolutely convinced that just as there is absolutely nothing that can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, there should be absolutely nothing that should diminish or decrease the presence, the power and the person of the Holy Spirit within our lives. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for the same type of language surrounding nothing separating us from the love of God toward us in Christ Jesus is the same type of language and reality that should surround there being absolutely nothing that can decrease and diminish the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and lives. We must needs realize and understand the absolutely awesome and powerful truth surrounding Jesus’ time in the wilderness, for there is something about the Holy Spirit sustaining Him in the midst of the temptation and His time in the wilderness, as well as the presence and power of the Holy Spirit being sustained within His life. In all reality, we dare not misunderstand this particular point, for when we speak about Jesus coming up from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and when we speak about Jesus returning unto Galilee full of the Spirit we must needs realize and understand that the Spirit’s presence was there with Jesus throughout those forty days He was in the midst of the wilderness.

            THE SPIRIT NEVER DEPARTED! THE SPIRIT DIDN’T GO ANYWHERE! I am absolutely and completely captivated and gripped with the fact that the Spirit’s presence within the life of Jesus is entirely and altogether evident—not only in His being full of the Holy Spirit upon leaving the Jordan, but also His returning to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that what we find after Jesus returned to Galilee and entered into His hometown of Nazareth is that He was not only full of the Holy Spirit, but He was also anointed by the Spirit. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that not only did Jesus return from the wilderness unto Galilee full of the Holy Spirit, but He could also emphatically state and declare that He was indeed and was in fact anointed by the Holy Spirit. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering how Jesus would not only return in the power of the Holy Spirit from the wilderness, but would also be anointed by that same Spirit. I am absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ would be full of the Holy Spirit upon departing from the area around the Jordan River, He would be full of the Holy Spirit while in the wilderness, He would be full of the Holy Spirit upon returning to Galilee, and He would even be anointed by the Holy Spirit. This is something which we must needs realize and understand, for it is truly something to think about and consider how not only would Jesus emerge from the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus would also return from the wilderness anointed by the Spirit. Pause for a moment and think about how incredible powerful it is to not only return from the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit, but also anointed by the Holy Spirit. In fact, one might even say that one of the main purposes for the wilderness experience is to prepare you to not only step and enter into that anointing of the Spirit, but also to walk in that anointing.

            There are countless men and women among us right now who have grown incredibly discouraged and disheartened after emerging from whatever trial(s) they have faced. There are men and women who have emerged from various tribulations within their lives, and they have become increasingly sorrowful within their hearts and souls because of the place they feel they are in. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are men and women in our churches and within the body of Christ who have emerged from the wilderness and instead of feeling and knowing they are full of the Holy Spirit feel defeated and dejected. I firmly believe there are men and women among us within the body of Christ who have emerged from the wilderness and from their temptation(s) feeling utterly and completely sorrowful and depressed because of what took place in the wilderness. Oh I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy and how Moses spoke unto the children of Israel concerning their time in the wilderness and what the purpose of their time in the wilderness was. What’s more, is that I feel it necessary to also draw and call your attention to the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome concerning trials, tribulation, tests, and temptations within their hearts and lives. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and pay attention to the words which are found within these two passages, for they help us realize and understand that there has been absolutely no temptation, no test, no trial, no trouble, nor any tribulation that was designed to decrease and diminish the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within your life. If you entered into the temptation full of the Holy Spirit you can absolutely and most certainly rest assured that you were intended to emerge from that temptation full of the Holy Spirit. If you entered into the tribulation and trouble full of the Holy Spirit you were not only intended on emerging full of the Holy Spirit, but you were also intended on experiencing the anointing of that same Spirit within your heart and life. It is with this in mind I now invite you to consider the following words which are found within the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, as well as the New Testament epistle written unto the Romans:

            “All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig grass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was on water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with  manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and the he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; and thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of thine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 8:1-20).

            “…Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are account as sheep for the slaughter. Na, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:26-39).

            TRIBULATION! DISTRESS! PERSECUTION! FAMINE! NAKEDNESS! PERIL! SWORD! DEATH! LIFE! ANGELS! PRINCIPALITIES! POWERS! THINGS PRESENT! THINGS TO COME! HEIGHT! DEPTH! ANY OTHER CREATURE! I absolutely love the words which are written and recorded within these verses, for the words which we find here bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ. The apostle Paul emphatically and boldly declared that there is no tribulation, there is on distress, there is no persecution, there is no famine, there is no nakedness, nor any peril or sword that can and shall separate us from the love of God which is toward us in Christ Jesus. We have a great and present need to pay close and careful attention to what is written here, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that just as there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God which is toward us in Christ Jesus, so also should there be absolutely nothing in this world that can separate us from the fulness of the Holy Spirit It is absolutely necessary and imperative we understand and recognize that no tribulation, no distress, no persecution, no famine, nor anything else we face within this life has been meant to decrease or diminish the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives. Just as surely as there is no temptation, no distress, no persecution, no famine, or anything else in this life can, should and even will separate us from the love of Christ, so also no temptation, no tribulation, no test and no trouble can and should decrease the presence and person of the Holy Spirit within our lives. In fact, I would dare argue and contend that the tribulations, the troubles and the trials we face within our lives are not only intended on solidifying the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives, but they are also intended on increasing the activity of the Spirit within our lives.

            I absolutely love and am absolutely convinced that what we read and what we find in the narrative and account of the Lord Jesus Christ returning from the wilderness full of the Holy Ghost into Galilee is a powerful demonstration concerning and within our lives how the person, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit can indeed and can in fact be present within our hearts and lives even after the temptation has concluded. I firmly believe that it is possible to experience this same reality which Jesus experienced, and that we can in fact emerge from the midst of the temptation(s) we face still just as full of the Holy Spirit as when we entered. There is absolutely no reason why the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within our lives should decrease and diminish as a direct result of the temptation(s) we have walked through and faced. I fully realize and recognize that this might be easier said than done, and yet the truth of the matter is that when we think and speak about Jesus emerging from the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit—and not only full of the Holy Spirit, but also anointed by the Spirit—we must needs realize, recognize and understand that it is entirely and altogether possible to emerge from the wilderness experiences within our lives full of and anointed by the Holy Spirit. It is entirely and altogether possible to emerge from extended periods of fasting feeling entirely desperate, hungry, thirsty, and the like sustained by the person and presence of the Holy Spirit and anointed by His person, presence, and power. It is truly remarkable to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would emerge from the waters of baptism having the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, and He would indeed be filled with the Holy Spirit upon being led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and even after enduring the temptation in the wilderness He would still be just as full of the Holy Spirit as when He entered. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—we must needs realize, recognize and understand that it is entirely and altogether possible for us to emerge from the wilderness, emerge from the tribulation, emerge from the trouble, emerge from the trial, and emerge from those things which the enemy would like to use to destroy us, and to do so entirely and altogether full of the Holy Spirit.

            I sit here right now thinking about and considering the words and language that is found within the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke and I can’t help but be absolutely and entirely captivated with the fact that it is possible to be full of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, and to be rejected in ministry. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that you can be full of and even anointed by the Holy Spirit and yet be completely and utterly despised and be rejected by others? Not only this, but it is also entirely and altogether possible to face and experience rejection from and by those whom you would think you would get support from. What’s more, is when you read the words which are found within this portion of Scripture you will find two entirely different responses to Jesus. Within this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus in two different synagogues and in two different synagogues within Galilee—the very place He returned full of the Holy Spirit—and there would be two entirely different responses to Jesus. It would be in Nazareth Jesus would read from the words written and spoken by Isaiah and would not only declare that on that day and in their company those words were fulfilled in their hearing and presence, but Jesus would also declare that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him and had anointed Him to preach. Pause and consider the fact that Jesus would read from the prophetic book of Isaiah, Jesus would declare that those words would be fulfilled in their hearing, and Jesus would even declare that He was anointed by the Holy Spirit, and yet He would be utterly despised and rejected. What’s more, is that not only would Jesus be despised and rejected by His own, but He would also be despised and rejected by those who had watched Him grow up and those who had known Him the longest. Oh I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that it’s possible for there to be times within our lives when those who know us the longest can not only despise and reject us, but also for those who have known us the longest to fail to see that which God has done and God is doing within our hearts and lives.

            The narrative which we find within this portion of Scripture is absolutely and incredibly powerful when you take the time to think about and consider it, for within this portion of Scripture we find two entirely different and altogether different responses to the person and presence of Jesus. We know from Scripture that He was full of the Holy Spirit and we know that Jesus was and had been anointed by the Holy Spirit and yet in one synagogue and place they drove Him out of the synagogue, they drove Him out of the city, and they even sought to kill Him, while in the other synagogue we find those present being amazed and proclaiming the mighty and wonderful works. What’s more, is that within the synagogue in Capernaum we find Jesus being able to bring deliverance into the life of one who was possessed, tormented and oppressed by an unclean spirit. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering that Jesus returned from the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit and would be found within two different synagogues on the sabbath day, and the end result of these experiences was one synagogue thrusting Him out and wanting to kill Him, while the other was in amazement while one among them was delivered. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that there can truthfully be two different realities and alternatives present within our own houses of worship and churches—either the person and presence of the Holy Spirit can lead to and produce deliverance among us, or the person and presence of the Holy Spirit can cause us to be found in a place where we seek to drive Jesus out from among us in our midst. We must not miss and lose sight of that which is written and recorded within these verses, for what we find within these verses brings us face to face with two vastly different responses to Jesus, and two vastly different outcomes. Furthermore, we must needs understand that it is possible to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, and to be full of the Holy Spirit, and yet to find ourselves in a place where we are rejected and despised by those whom we are trying and seeking to minister to.

            The more I read the words which are found within these verses the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that Jesus would return to Galilee as a region, and would indeed be found in two different places, however, He would be rejected in His hometown of Nazareth, while being astonished by those in Capernaum. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we pay close and careful attention to the words which are found here in this portion of Scripture, for the words we find here bring us face to face with the truly awesome truth that the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit does not automatically mean we can and will be received—even by those who know us and have known us the longest. We would like to think that because we are anointed and because we are full of the Holy Spirit that we can and will be received wherever we go, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. Jesus would return to Galilee full of the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus would most certainly be anointed by the Holy Spirit, and yet He would be rejected in one place and received in another place. Jesus would be received in one place who would be amazed and astonished at his doctrine, for His word would come forth with power, and Jesus would be rejected in another place. What makes this all the more interesting is it was in Nazareth where Jesus would read from the words of the prophet Isaiah and even make the declaration that those words were being fulfilled in their hearing—thus indicating that the Spirit of the LORD was upon Him and had anointed Him to preach—and He would thus indicate that He was anointed by the Spirit, and yet those there could not handle the words which He had spoken. Jesus would not read such words in the synagogue in Capernaum and would not even declare that He was anointed by the Spirit, and yet those present there noticed and acknowledged that His word was with power. Oh how incredibly unique and powerful it is to think about and consider the fact that in Nazareth Jesus read from the words of Isaiah which spoke of the Spirit of the LORD being upon Him and anointing Him to preach, and yet He could do absolutely nothing among them there in that town.

            It is absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would actually read from Scripture, would actually deliver a powerful message that the Spirit of the LORD was not only upon Him, but had also anointed Him to preach, and yet He could do mighty miracle. I cannot help but think about and consider the fact that within this passage of Scripture we find Jesus actively speaking about the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit—even that which was prophesied centuries and generations earlier—and He would do so in His own hometown, and yet they could not understand, nor could they even acknowledge what He said. Instead of receiving Him, instead of receiving His words, instead of receiving His message, and instead of receiving what He had come to do, they rejected Him. Oh stop and think about the tremendous fact that Jesus would first be rejected in Nazareth before He would ever be rejected in Jerusalem. Jesus would first be rejected in His own hometown among those who knew Him the best before He would be rejected by the religious scribes, the chief priests, the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law, and the like. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering how before Jesus was ever rejected by religion He was first rejected by relationship and by familiarity. REJECTED BY RELATIONSHIP AND FAMILIARITY! JESUS WAS FIRST REJECTED BY FAMILIARITY BEFORE HE WAS REJECTED BY RELIGION! Oh that we would recognize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely astonishing and remarkable truth that Jesus would and could even speak of the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit among them, and yet they would be in a place where they would be entirely and altogether unable to experience that reality and manifestation within their midst. Even Scripture itself states that Jesus could do no miracle among them in their midst because of their unbelief, because of the hardness of their hearts. It is possible to have Jesus present among you in your midst, it is possible to have the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit present among you in your midst, and yet the Son of God is entirely and altogether limited in what He is able to do among you in your midst.

            REJECTED BY FAMILIARITY BEFORE BEING REJECTED BY RELIGION! THE MESSAGE OF THE PRESENCE AND POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE INABILITY TO PERFORM ANY MIRACLES! REJECTED IN ONE SYNAGOGUE, RECEIVED IN ANOTHER SYNAGOGUE! TWO ROADS, TWO PATHS: DRIVING OUT JESUS, EXPERIENCING DELIVERANCE IN THE MIDST! I have to admit that I cannot help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with and by the awesome and tremendous truth that is found within this portion of Scripture and the two different types of responses. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found within these verses it’s that in both synagogues the same Jesus was present, and in both synagogues the same Holy Spirit was present with and among them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredible truth, for it draws and calls our attention to the fact that within this portion of Scripture we find Jesus being present in the midst of two synagogues, and in the midst of those synagogues—not only was there two different responses to Jesus, but there were also two different responses by Jesus. In both synagogues Jesus was present, and in both synagogues we find Jesus teaching among them, and yet in one of the synagogues we find the people driving Him out of the synagogue and even seeking to kill Him. In the other synagogue we find the people being amazed and astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with power. OH I have long been fascinated with and by the words which are found in this particular account of the life of Jesus, for when you compare and contrast Jesus’ time in the synagogues of Capernaum and Nazareth you will find that in Nazareth those present were initially filled with wonder at the gracious words which proceeded forth from His mouth before they would ultimately filled with wrath toward Him. Eventually this wrath which would be mixed together with the hardness and unbelief of their hearts would cause them to drive Him out of the synagogue and even attempt to kill Him. What’s more, is that it wasn’t merely that the people of Nazareth drove Jesus out of the synagogue, but it was also about how those in Nazareth sought to kill one of their own. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for we must needs realize and recognize that Jesus’ first recorded journey to the synagogue would be within His own hometown of Nazareth, and it would be there in Nazareth where His own people and His own kinsfolk would seek to kill and destroy Him.

            It is truly something worth pausing and considering when reading the words which are found within these verses, for the words presented before us bring us face to face with the tremendous truth that those who knew Jesus the best would be those who would reject Him first—and not only reject Him, but also seek to kill Him by thrusting Him headlong off the brow of the hill upon which the city was built. Oh please pay attention to that which is found within this portion of Scripture, for it calls us to acknowledge the awesome truth that although Jesus would teach in both synagogues—the synagogue in Capernaum and the synagogue in Nazareth—there would be two drastically different responses. What I still cannot escape thinking about is when I read the words found within this portion of Scripture and how in Nazareth Jesus would read from the words written and recorded in the prophetic book of Isaiah concerning the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit and the Messianic ministry and work in the earth, and yet those present in Nazareth could not understand, nor could they recognize the importance and significance of what they were hearing, nor even who was standing before them. It would be in Nazareth Jesus would essentially first speak of the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit, and yet those present there could not see, nor could they even recognize the power and authority which was present among them. When, however, you come to Capernaum you will find that there in Capernaum those present were astonished at His doctrine, for His word was with power. In one gospel translation we also find it written that their astonishment was also centered around the fact that He did not teach them as their scribes and teachers of the Law, for His word was indeed with power and with authority. Oh we dare not miss and lose sight of this, for Jesus did not need to make any declaration concerning the anointing upon Him, nor did Jesus need to make any declaration concerning the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, and yet those present within this town’s synagogue recognized the authority and the power which was present within and upon Him.

            Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—as I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw your attention to the tremendous disparity and dichotomy that is present within these two synagogues. As you read the words which are found within these verses you cannot help but come face to face with the truly astonishing truth that although Jesus returned from the wilderness full of the power of the Holy Spirit, and although the Spirit of the LORD was upon Jesus, and although the Spirit of the sovereign LORD had anointed Him, there would be those who would indeed and those who would in fact reject Him. We cannot afford to miss it on this particular point, for there are those among us who would like to think and believe that the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit suggests and signifies that we can and will be received everywhere we go and even everywhere we have been called to go. Would it shock and surprise you to know that it is possible for the living and eternal God to call you to a certain and specific place, and can even anoint you with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of the LORD can even be upon you, and yet in that place you will be entirely and altogether rejected. I can’t help but be reminded of the ancient Hebrew prophets and how many of them were rejected and despised by those to whom they were sent to bring the prophetic word and the prophetic message to. There were certain prophets whom the LORD specifically told and prepared them for the reality that their words would not be received and they themselves would be rejected. I can’t help but think about the prophet Jeremiah and how although the LORD had indeed called Him, and although the LORD had put His words in his mouth there would be those who would not receive his words, nor his message. In fact, at one point you will find Jeremiah in his own home town of Anathoth, and it would be there in Anathoth where he would be rejected and despised by those which were present there. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that Jeremiah was the son of a priest and was born in a town that was allocated for the priests, thus indicating that Jeremiah was not only rejected by his own kinsfolk, but he was also rejected by priests and religion during that day.

            I sit here right now thinking about and considering the words which are found in this portion of Scripture and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the powerful truth that we can be called of God, we can be sent by God, we can be anointed by the Spirit of the LORD, and we can even have the presence of the Spirit within and upon our lives, and yet even in the midst of that we can indeed and can in fact be rejected and despised by those unto whom we have been sent. Oh dear brother and sister—please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of that which is found here in this portion of Scripture, for you can be called of God and sent by God unto a certain people, and yet even though you are sent unto those people you find yourself being rejected, despised and not received. Please recognize and understand that even when Jesus sent forth His disciples out into the harvest two by two He sent them out preparing them to be hated for His name’s sake and with the warning that they would indeed enter into certain cities, into certain towns, into certain villages, and into certain homes, and instead of being welcomed and received they would be despised and rejected. Jesus would emphatically declare that the servant is not above their master, and if Jesus Himself was despised and rejected—rejected by His own kinsfolk of Nazareth, and even rejected by religion and many of the Jews—His disciples and followers would themselves face and experience rejection themselves. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it forces us to acknowledge that the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee being received everywhere we go, and even everywhere we have been sent. Oh we would like to the think that the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit automatically means and guarantees that we will be received and that our words will be embraced by those unto whom we have been sent, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not and has not been the case.

            Oh there is something truly wonderful and powerful when you read the words found within this portion of Scripture, for we must needs understand the tremendous and strong distinction that exists between Jesus’ time and presence within each of these synagogues. We must needs realize, recognize and understand the tremendous disparity that centers upon and surrounds the words and language found here in this portion of Scripture, for it forces us to acknowledge our own response to Jesus when He enters into our own churches and our own services. There is a great and present need within and among us in our midst when we take the time to read the words found in this chapter, for it is very much possible that the presence of Jesus could be found among us, and the anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit could be found among us, and yet in light of all that—not only can Jesus be despised and rejected, but men can also seek to drive Him out and ultimately seek to destroy Him. What a truly and fascinating thought and concept it is to think about how in Nazareth those present within this town not only sought to drive Him out of their synagogue, and not only sought to drive Him out of their city, but also sought to destroy Him altogether by thrusting Him headlong off the brow of the hill upon which the city was built. When, however, you come to the account of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum you will find an entirely different response, for it would be in Capernaum where you will find the person and presence of Jesus eliciting an entirely different response among those who were present there in this town. It would be there in the synagogue of Capernaum you will find those present being astonished at His doctrine and recognizing and acknowledging that His word was with power and authority. As a direct result of this astonishment and amazement we find Jesus being able to bring deliverance to a man among them who was possessed, oppressed, tormented and afflicted by an unclean spirit. Oh I can’t help but wonder how many needs were present there in the midst of the synagogue of Nazareth on that day in which he was present, and yet how Jesus was driven out of the midst of it without being able to do anything among them.

How many needs are present among us within our churches and within our houses of worship? Jesus mentioned unto those within the synagogue of Nazareth that only unto a widow of Sarepta was the prophet Elijah sent during a time of famine and drought, and only Naaman the Syrian was healed of his leprosy—this despite the fact that there were many widows and lepers in Israel during that time. Oh the underlying truth surrounding Jesus’ words was how many lepers and widows—and not only how many lepers and widows, but also how many others among them in the synagogue were in desperate need, and how Jesus could do absolutely nothing to change their situation and circumstance. Jesus would be driven out of the synagogue there in Nazareth without being able to bring deliverance, healing, wholeness and restoration, while in Capernaum we find Jesus being able to bring deliverance into the life of a man who was tormented and afflicted by an unclean spirit. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth that it is possible that there are many needs present among us which are going entirely and altogether unmet because of our response to the person and presence of Jesus among us within our midst. There are those present among us who are unable to experience any type of deliverance and freedom within their hearts and lives because of the hardness of our hearts, because of our unbelief, and because of our familiarity with Jesus and our rejection of Him. Oh please do not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to the truly wonderful and challenging truth that we have been called and brought into the place where we must recognize and understand the condition of our own hearts—and not only understand the condition of our own hearts, but also understand and recognize our response to the person and presence of Jesus, as well as our response to the person, the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.

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