Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 10
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:4:12-17
What is God doing?
Let us remind ourselves that God is doing one thing/the same thing HE has been moving towards all along; it is just that there are several moving pieces. In this passage HE is gathering twelve witnesses that will follow Jesus throughout his earthly ministry. Through these twelve, later after the death and resurrection of Jesus when they are converted, they will be made the foundation of a Church of followers of Jesus, the beginning of His kingdom on Earth. Their discipleship and testimony will become crucial to the plan for in a sense God is entrusting them once indwelled by His Spirit to carry out a piece of the movement forward.
What is man doing?
Man, at least these twelve men are leaving their present lives behind to follow Jesus; though we do not know exactly why. In the case of these four identified in this passage they had some initial acquaintance with Jesus through the Baptist. Andrew and one other disciple (we assume to be John) had formerly been with the wilderness prophet at least for some time; Andrew has introduced Peter to Jesus convinced with very little divine manifestation that Jesus is the promised messiah (whatever he believes that to be). It is possible as well that in unified sequence with the other gospels this particular passage is a regathering of disciples in advance of a larger missionary tour. We are not certain.
What we do know is that these are not yet converted men, they will be shown to have believed/done many things during their discipleship all of which to some extent were corrupt just as all man. Yet the impulse within them is strong enough already to pickup stakes and leave all else behind; which is a strong impulse in deed though we don't understand it. Why they could do this when many other desiring fellows could not, how they could see this to the end when so many others left off, what they were allowed to see of Jesus during this time that not anyone else living was afforded, questions as these are best answered by laying them down at the feet of providence. Jesus Himself claimed that these men were "given" Him by the Father and that He lost not one but the son of perdition Judas.
It still is curious however what these men saw initially in Jesus, what they believed He was setting out to do, what their part in this was going to be, how difficult a choice this might have been, what they knew about what would be expected of them and how much it would change their lives. It is curious at this stage because we know that as strongly as they feel about this that humanly in some regard their feelings and expectations are off the mark.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
Obedience usually leads to a trail of unforeseeable further obediences. The Bible frequently speaks in terms of paths and roads and steps along them. Once heading any particular direction towards any destination on these roads, the traveler will called upon to make certain decisions and certain actions to overcome obstacles as they are presented and to continue on to the next. This is true no matter what the direction is that is taken. Ask the convict or the addict if this is not so.
As far as guarding the information that is already there, it is best to know what that information actually means. It is hard to keep another person from wrongfully distorting it when you are distorting it to a similar extent as well. For us the difficulty can be the sometimes subtle distinction between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law for instance. Guarding the commandments and the faith largely amounts to guarding one's heart by the light of Jesus. And how else can we explain the success of that other than by God's grace and providence (and sometimes reproof).
Next: devotion:Matthew:4:23-25 Jesus Heals the Sick