Forty years ago today I would have been in the second of seven days the Lord commanded me with specific and detailed instructions to fast without eating or drinking in complete devotion to Him.1 I write in gratitude to glorify the Lord for my experiences with Him those seven days that are still vivid and impacted my life and ministry in profound and lasting ways. Though yet a babe needing to grow spiritually (as are many reading this I also hope to urge on), I was never to be the same again (Galatians 2:20)!2 The command to be totally given over to the Lord came at a critical period in my life and twenty-two months from the time my spiritual journey began on Easter Sunday 1977.3
After my new birth, while I still had a robust interest in living the get high, party and sexually promiscuous lifestyle I had been accustomed to, it had begun to wane in satisfaction (1 Peter 4:1-3). I was becoming more interested in the things of God; occasionally reading a now, well worn New American Standard Bible I was given and a Parachurch ministry magazine that came out of nowhere I would later learn was unbiblical. In the spring of 1978 I had been fired from a department store job for impropriety and was struggling as a student at Howard University. I was not able to focus because my life seemed meaningless and empty; I had lost all sense of purpose and was depressed.
At summer’s end I was about to lose my apartment. So, with two school buddies, I made plans to move into and split the rent at a Takoma Park, MD high-rise that October. Still struggling with school though, I withdrew from classes in late September. I was working in a record shop part-time. In near desperation for change, later in the fall I asked a woman I had met in a club to direct me to the church she attended. My irregular attendance at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in D.C. after that felt right, but I was still not at the point of total commitment to the God who was tugging at my heart. I ended the year and spent the first nine weeks of 1979 unemployed after being let go from my job.
I had enrolled in spring semester classes, but school still held no compelling interest for me and I went only sporadically. At my lowest, I attended church fairly regular now, reading my Bible more and praying for guidance and help. When I heard the voice of the Lord in my heart again for the first time since that Easter Sunday encounter, He commanded that I fast to Him for seven full days; eating no food or drinking anything. I was to totally withdraw from the world as I was living in it to include not sitting among my friends the first three days and give the Lord my complete, undivided attention in Bible study, reflection on the Word, prayer, listening to Him and my one Gospel tape.4
While I had some fear of the unknown concerning fasting as He commanded, the Lord’s accompanying instructions were reassuring and very importantly, faith building as was my entire experience. For I now understand with all else He had in mind for me5 from midnight Friday morning, February 16, 1979 through midnight Friday morning, the 23rd, my Lord was calling me to surrender all to Him; to die to self and sin for the first time in a major way on this unique occasion leading to what would eventually become in spirit “daily” as I matured in Him (Romans 6:1-14; 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:11, NKJV).6 Indeed, the smell of death radiated from my body and breath (Job 19:17).7
With the intent to read through it all, my Bible study starting from Genesis 1:1 was very instructive. Though I did not finish before the end of the fast, when I did so later in the year, it turns out the fast was the launch pad for the many times I would read through God’s Word over the forty years since. The Lord showed up in my times of reflection not only to illuminate what I had studied, but to acquaint me with His Person--He is love, joy, peace…and power! Oh, the power of God who displayed it in my body such that I never thirsted or hungered (Isaiah 55:1-3; Matthew 4:4); who also stirred me to look closer and see that each flake truly was different as the snow fell gently on my 10th floor window (Job 38:22-38; Mark 4:35-41). I was in awe, but He was not finished yet!
The Almighty God, Creator of the heavens and the earth also brought me outside after the snow stopped the next day and commanded me to look directly into the sun. I hesitated because I had been taught never to do this due to the harm it would cause my eyes. But the Lord directed me to trust Him. So, I peered into the sun and the Lord said to me “Do you see the glory of the sun I created? My glory is greater” (Psalm 136:1-9; Isaiah 40:25-26; Acts 26:12-15)! No harm came to my eyes that day or since. Obeying His directions, I ended my fast with an amazingly good sip of water followed later that morning with juice and fruit. I did not eat a heavier meal until the second day after. Weak in body, but my soul on fire, I rejoiced mightily in church that Sunday and was later baptized!
During the week, the Lord had one more glorious experience for me. As I was driving along in D.C., I looked over to my right and saw a cemetery. Before I could focus good, all at once overflowing joy filled me followed immediately by uncontrollable tears as I understood in that instant the graveyard held no fear for me because in Christ, I overcome even death (Job 19:23-27; John 11:23-27)! I could hardly see through my tears as I drove on thanking and praising God for His great salvation and what was taking place in me as a result of the seven days with Him. The Lord gave the guidance and help I sought. He led me to withdraw from Howard and provided a part-time job at a grocery store so I could pay bills and save to move back home to Seaside, CA that May for what He had planned next. I gave away most of my worldly possessions and when May came, hit the road.
1 I am writing in the Holy Spirit’s illuminating spiritual hindsight about things I did not understand in those days. So, I now understand, for example, fasting in Scripture is
a spiritual discipline involving the subduing of the body in its natural desire for life sustaining food as an act of self-emptying humility before God. Many of the Bible’s
heavyweights fasted for this reason (Nehemiah 1:1-4; Luke 2:36-38) especially related to repentance (Daniel 9:1-19). The Lord Jesus fasted from food to God while
being tempted by the devil (Luke 4:1-2). The ancients also fasted in times of distress and grief such as when mourning those who died. This latter reason gives rise to
seven days being found in Scripture as one of the various number of days to fast (1 Samuel 31:11-13). Seven is a number God uses to signify completion (Genesis 2:
1-3). Fasting without food and drink is the ultimate self-emptying humility before and giving over of oneself to God which Moses did for forty days and nights on the
mountain and the Lord Jesus fully actualized on the cross (Deuteronomy 9:9; Luke 22:19, 41-42, 23:46).
2 Scripture references are added throughout this post I did not know back then as another beneficial aspect to me and the reader of the Holy Spirit’s illuminating spiritual
hindsight and confirmation of things taking place in my fast experiences.
3 This post is an elaboration on one part of my personal testimony found in fullest outline in the midst of a 5-part Journal article entitled, Releasing The Strong Man, be-
ginning in Part IV on the From Slavery To Victory Education Project Web Site.
4 My friends later told me I drove them crazy playing the 1978 Walter Hawkins, Love Alive II Album and especially the song, Be Grateful, over and over again (patched
and moved to a new shell, I still have and listen to it). They did not know that in that song in particular, the Lord was ministering His healing and deliverance from the
darkness of my despair with every tear I shed; hope in Him for better days ahead. Thank you, Jesus!
5 To learn more about other things the Lord was doing with me during my seven day fast read the October 2, 2016 post, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart, and Pastors As
Developing Christian Men posted on December 17, 2017 both under the category, Call To Repent. See also Serving God From The Heart, posted April 23, 2017 un-
der the category, Glory To God!
6 Yes, I mean exactly as the great hymn, I Surrender All declares and Denise Williams soulfully delivers in her cover of it on her 1994 Greatest Gospel Hits Album. By
the way, among the many great songs on that same album, Ms. Williams also sings one of my standing songs of life devotion and service to the Lord, My Soul Desire.
7 Do not attempt to fast as I was commanded unless you are in fact commanded by the Lord who is able to and does supernaturally sustain the body deprived of its
necessary nourishment. The Lord never commanded me to fast without food and drink for seven days again, but once for three days and several times for one day.
All other extended fasts the Lord commanded me were without food only; the longest being forty days. There was no fast in drawing near to God that I did not have to
come face to face with, confess and repent from biblically defined sins (1 John 1:5-10).
Mankind have been sinners so long, we cannot wrap our brains around a perfect, sinless man as Adam was before he sinned. This is why even with Jesus, Son of Man, many attribute His sinless life to His deity. This is the second of two common misconceptions of His Humanity mostly well meaning Bible teachers have and teach. However, to any way have used the powers of His divinity in the conduct of His mortal sojourn would belie the apostle Paul’s inspired declaration, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men,” (Philippians 2:6-7, NKJV).
Also, Scripture teaches that the Lord Jesus in the body of Mary, the virgin had a perfect, sinless body “prepared” for Him or else being holy God, He could not have entered it (Luke 1:31, 34-35; Hebrews 10:5, NKJV)! The net result of this mostly unintended second misconception of Jesus, Son of Man is the implication that He through His deity cheated somehow in keeping Himself in perfect obedience to and sinless before God. But, of course, this would be sin and scandalous! This is why once again my God demonstrates His infinite wisdom in what is recorded in three of the New Testament Gospel accounts of Jesus being put to the test before He began His ministry.
The Father having declared loving affection for and full pleasure in His Son at His baptism by John, the Holy Spirit who had descended upon Him is seen to even push Jesus into the wilderness to fast forty days and afterward become ravenously hungry; then, be tempted by the devil to act in this weakened state three ways. First, he tempted Him to use His own power as the Son of God to meet His physical needs. Second, Satan tempted Him to put the Father’s promise of protective care to the test. Lastly, the tempter offered Jesus a path to world rule through bowing to him. The Son of Man refused every temptation and prevailed (Matthew 3:13-4:11; Mark 1:9-13; Luke 3:21-22, 4:1-13)!
This was surely not the first attempt by Satan to seduce Jesus into sin from His age of accountability to that moment or after during His ministry years. But in the barren wilderness temptation of Jesus as with Adam in the paradise garden, God the Father sought to reveal His only begotten Son’s heart; His willingness to please the Father even over Himself and do His will as He avowed coming into the world (Hebrews 10:6-7). Adam failed in the garden, but Jesus marvelously succeeded in the wilderness and thereafter since it is written of Him that He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15, NKJV).
Jesus, the Son of Man maintained His perfection from a Boy the same way Adam could have out of faith in and love for His Father along with the pure, Selfless ambition to please Him and do His will (Genesis 2:15-17, 3:6, 17a; Luke 2:41-52, 8:19-21; John 14:31). The Gospels record that Jesus kept emphasizing repeatedly how He had come to do His Father’s will in all that He taught as His message and the deeds He carried out in the Father’s power by the Holy Spirit (John 8:25-29, 12:42-50, 14:7-11). Beyond ambition as a Man, He perfectly displayed authority, leadership, courage, zeal, physical and spiritual strength, toughness and forcefulness in His mission (Luke 4:31-44; John 2:13-22).
Along the way, He forthrightly spoke of greatness in the glory the Father had prepared for Him; the life cause and mission He was willing to suffer and endure death for in carrying out (Matthew 16:13-17:13). He took what most mortal men would certainly agree were risks in His ministry while traveling throughout Israel and decisive actions that relieved human suffering (Luke 4:16-30; 5:12-26). He followed His Father’s instructions and plans wholly to the death as an obedient Son; the distinctive Strong Man of God (Philippians 2:8)!2 Truly, He learned obedience (God does not learn, man does) in all that He suffered on the way to and on the cross (Isaiah 50:4-6; Matthew 26:36-46; Hebrews 5:5-8).
Even with the impending abandonment of His “band of brothers,” Jesus copiously “loved them to the end,” (John 13:1, NKJV).3 Before entering His final trials, He interceded for them and all of us that would be the beneficiaries by faith of His sacrifice (John 17); a sacrifice that made a way of eternal deliverance from sin and death for the first time since Adam’s fall (Isaiah 53; Romans 3:10-31; Ephesians 2:1-10). Again, Jesus, Son of Man did this to restore fallen man the creature in the divine purpose of creation-wide governance, bring many sons to eternal glory with Him, help the faithful in our earthly sojourn and remove the fear of judgment (Hebrews 2:5-18, 4:14-16, 5:9, 9:22-10:18). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
2 Obeying God to the death is one of four distinctive characteristics of Jesus as the Strong Man of God I am led by the Holy Spirit to write about in my book, The Strong
Man Of God: Back To Basics available in the Strong Man Store.
3 I gratefully acknowledge here David Murrow and his book, Why Men Hate Going To Church as a reference source for presenting part of Jesus’ masculine checklist
(i.e. aspiration for greatness, a cause to die for, risk taking, adventure, action taking and problem solving, following a leader and the love of a “band of brothers”). I
have shown Jesus as such a Man in this blog and will do so in upcoming blogs to relate this partial masculine display to His disciples and very importantly, as typical
of males presently and man the creature made in the image and likeness of God. Other characteristics of masculinity displayed by Jesus, Son of Man will also be
presented in upcoming blogs as they are by Murrow in his book and me in The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.
A man’s Man to be sure, but God’s Man all the more, Jesus, Son of Man displayed the masculine traits that have long been considered solidly male. Clearly, however, this was not the extent of His eternal masculinity and Manhood as He also displayed traits that have been wrongly associated uniquely with femininity and weakness. Such traits as grace, mercy, compassion, humility, gentleness, kindness, empathy, longsuffering, forgiveness and consoling were displayed in Jesus too (Matthew 9:9-13, 18-36, 11:25-30; Luke 6:1-11, 7:1-17, 9:37-42; John 8:1-12, 16:16-33). Thus, He fully exhibited man as the masculine being he is as I have been proclaiming in this blog!
Contrary to what sin has corruptly worked in fallen man as male and female by God’s perfect, purposeful design and division, they in their marital oneness were to operate cooperatively in a complementary relationship. Their intrinsic masculinity was “fleshed out” by God in their natural bodies in such a way as to foster understanding, appreciation and harmony for each other’s roles and responsibilities in the divine assignment to rule and fill the earth.4 As a result, males in general as His chosen heads and initiators of the family with the help of hormones have emphasized those parts of masculinity that are strongly linked to their tasks such as authority, ambition and strength.
Hormonally aided, females in general as helpers to their husbands in the management and expansion of the family through childbearing, display more of such masculine traits as compassion, gentleness and consoling suited for those responsibilities.5 Nevertheless, as demonstrated by Jesus, Son of Man, these masculine traits are not intended exclusively for feminine ends and in fact, now, His male and female followers are being restored inwardly to conform to His image and example of eternal masculinity in becoming like Him in every way, but without conflict with their respective temporary gender body designs, roles and responsibilities (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
As great as Jesus is, He still presented Himself a “bondservant,” (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:7, NKJV). John the Baptist described Him as “the Lamb of God” which spoke to His mission to take “away the sin of the world,” (John 1:29, NKJV)! But calling Jesus, Son of Man “the Lamb of God” also speaks to His eternal attitude and posture of humility to please the Father in all submission that led to His offering Himself on the cross to take away sin and bring forth the restoration of willing mankind. Therefore, again, submission as taught and displayed eternally by Jesus is not something exclusive to femininity and negative, but well pleasing to God since it is directly tied to the proper loving response to greater authority as in the divine Father and Son relationship above all other examples!
The foregoing is certainly the reason Jesus does not attempt to fix God’s order of mankind as it concerns the headship of a man over his wife and family--there is nothing wrong with it, but mankind as sinners! Instead, as the consummate Man and our Head (1 Corinthians 11:3), Jesus teaches us men how to treat women (Luke 7:36-50) and His apostles our wives with love, dignity, compassion and true equality as fellow man (Genesis 2:23; Ephesians 5:28-29); leading, teaching, providing for and protecting them as God has done for man since Adam in the garden (Genesis 2:7-17). God’s restoration of man in Jesus makes better male and female relations in this age possible!
Man is a ruler by divine design and created to rule God’s creation under Him. As I wrote in another place, as fully restored in Jesus Christ we are eternally destined “a race of rulers.”6 God did not create man to rule in any way that he pleased, but to do so in the divine image and likeness. Jesus, Son of Man showed us what kind of a ruler man is to be in perfect masculinity, nature, tested character and balanced demeanor as a lion and a lamb as I describe in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Having ended the first part of His work to restore man crying out from the cross, “It is finished“ (John 19:30, NKJV), He rose from the dead and ascended to His Father who “exalted Him” “Lord” to which every created knee bows to God’s glory (Philippians 2:8-11, NKJV)!
In the meantime, He continues seeking willing men among Adam’s fallen sons to restore in salvation and spiritual regeneration so they may be deployed and labor too in His present Kingdom cause (Matthew 4:18-19, 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Titus 3:3-7). Truly, the second and consummating part of God’s restoration work draws near; Jesus, the Son of Man’s declared return to earth when He will immediately raise the dead and transform the bodies of those living that have waited for Him (Matthew 26:63-64; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)!7 He with His fellow glorious immortals as God’s eternal sons will reign over an eagerly waiting creation beginning then and forever (Romans 8:14-25)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, “Who is on the Lord's side?”
4 Read my May 1, 2016 post, Natural Bodies By Divine Design and others referenced in it under the category, God’s Creatures.
5 Read the June 19, 2016 post, Eternal Sons Of God to learn more about how eternal, spiritual masculinity transcends and informs that which is displayed in the human
body by gender under the category, Instruction.
6 Read the September 19, 2014 post, A Race Of Rulers under the category, God’s Creatures. Also, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics referenced in this blog can
be purchased in the Strong Man Store.
7 See the July 10-31, 2016 posts that discuss the immortal bodies of the eternal sons of God!
(I have posted my blog today to enjoy some extra days off celebrating Christmas. The Lord saying the same, I will post my next blog on Sunday, December 29, 2013. Merry Christmas to you and yours!)
It is impossible to study the whole Bible and come away with only one aspect of the nature, character and demeanor of God or His Anointed and Son, Jesus of Nazareth! Yet, this is exactly what many guilty professed Christian media personalities, pastors and teachers who know better have purposely done in falsehood as the Lord led me to write in a recent post footnote.1 Indeed, as with much of the false teaching arising from within professing Christianity in these latter days, not only the false teachers, but those that are guilty from among the people taught seize upon some passage from the Bible in isolation to construct their own one sided depictions of the Lord Jesus.
The most popular made to order Jesus is the portrait of Him as “only lowly, meek and mild” who is not a Judge I wrote about in another post.2 Purposely misrepresenting the Lord Jesus for whatever motive even if well intended is sin (2 Peter 2:1-19; Jude 3-19)! Consequently, from the Lord I warn all another time that any standard raised up for behavior which may be creatively suggested is or contemporarily desired of Him that is less than or strays from how He is portrayed in the Bible is sinfully misrepresenting Him and a misleading of those being taught (John 13:12-17; 1 Corinthians 4:14-17, 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Ephesians 4:17-24; 1 Peter 2:18-25).3
Not as a contrast to the God of the Old Testament Law supposedly stern and testy, but as the fullest possible revelation of God’s nature in Human form as His “only begotten” did “grace and truth” come “through Jesus Christ,” (John 1:1-5, 14-18, NKJV)! When you encounter the God of the Old Testament Law, you are encountering Jesus Christ, the eternal Son as well since as He taught, He and the Father are One in nature, character and demeanor (John 10:30-39, 14:7-11).4 Or who do you think was with Israel in the Exodus (Exodus 24:9-18; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11)? In Christ we see the perfect fulfillment of the old adage, “like Father, like Son,” (John 5:16-23, 8:48-59, 17:1-5)!
The Lord presented Himself to Israel and the world as that approachable gentle and lowly Lamb of God in the first century A.D. displaying His eternally humble nature, character and demeanor in complete submission to His Father’s will and purposes (John 1:29-51). However, flashes of His nature, character and demeanor as the strong and commanding “Lion of the tribe of Judah” were also displayed as He stood against the desecration of God’s “house,” the powers of darkness and corrupt religious authorities (Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 1:21-28, 2:23-28; Revelation 5:5, NKJV)! These two portraits of Christ are not contradictory, but in Him perfectly balanced and blended!5
Thus, as the Lamb, Christ humbled Himself before God to serve our need for an Intercessor and eternal “Advocate” to deliver us from sin and its consequences reaching into eternity (Isaiah 59:1-16; John 3:13-18; Romans 8:31-34; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Hebrews 7:20-28; 1 John 1:5-2:2, NKJV). It is He who comes to the humble, broken in their sins and desperate for connection to God in His love, humility, gentleness and mercy to present Himself as “the way” to, “the truth” about and “the life” of God that fully meets their need for salvation (Matthew 5:1-6; John 14:6, NKJV)! Even so, it is Christ too, that is “the keeper” of God’s vineyard in His parable who intercedes for an extension of time and labor to a spiritually fruitless soul before certain death if no fruit is forthcoming (Luke 13:1-9, NKJV).
From this last statement, we see that Christ is not sappy as the Lamb our Advocate. While by His Father’s appointment in grace He advocates for forbearance, He only goes so long until, in total agreement with His Father sin must be judged! This is the Lion in Him through which raised from the dead that successful Intercessor, He now, also reigns as King, Lord and Judge in Heaven and earth (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 28:18; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Timothy 4:1). Those with the Holy Spirit see Him judging now, in our lives and churches out of His blended Lion and Lamb Persona as it is written (Revelation 1:9-3:22)! Soon, He will be seen by the entire world when He comes to judge in His and His Father’s wrath and deliver Israel (Psalm 98; Isaiah 59:17-21; Revelation 6:12-17, 19:11-16).
Study of the whole Bible plainly exposes the falsehood in portraying the Lord Jesus solely out of His nature, character and demeanor as the Lamb or possessing these opposite His Father! He cannot be made to order. His Person is anchored in the Bible--take or leave Him as He is! In our first short-term self-paced video course, Fruitful Bible Study from the Strong Man Virtual Institute, I appeal above all to aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ to engage daily in the spiritual discipline of Bible study for its many benefits.6 Not the least of these benefits is becoming so familiar with the truth one cannot easily be deceived by the many falsehoods and doctrines of demons that proliferate within professing Christianity during these latter days of foretold deception.
1 See footnote five in the May 1, 2022 post, Made To Order Salvation?, under the category, The Faith.
2 Read the August 1, 2021 post, Jesus Christ King And Judge!, under the category, Instruction.
3 I pray my brothers in the Christian men’s movement especially will receive the warning. Our Lord Jesus is God’s perfect standard of what Man is He conforms us to
(Romans 8:29)! This is a staggering truth and one that should cause fear in the hearts of any pastor or other teacher of men who supposes he is helping them by
teaching (or purposely modeling for that matter) a lower standard than the Christ of Scripture! You may get thousands of men following you, but is that the biblical
goal of our Kingdom labor (Matthew 16:13-18, 28:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12)? See the June 29, 2014 post, Fully Restoring Men and Christ: The Perfect Model
Of Manhood!, posted on July 6, 2014 both under the category, Instruction.
4 Thus, the display of grace and truth through the Lord Jesus is not about Him and the Father playing the game of “bad cop, good cop” as some seem to teach. The
Father is also full of grace and truth (Hebrews 1:1-4)! However, John under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes to inform us that in contradistinction to the Law
which condemns sinful men who cannot keep it, the grace and truth of the triune God who loves and seeks to save mankind shone forth brilliantly in Christ the Word
become flesh (John 1:14)!
5 I am awed and remain grateful to the Lord for allowing me to write about Him the perfectly blended Lion and Lamb as the Strong Man of God in my book, The Strong
Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available with the companion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study in the
Strong Man Store, at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore.
6 Learn more about the course in its first session on our Strong Man Virtual Institute YouTube Channel. A Study Guide is available as a free download in the
Strong Man Store to help you follow along during the six short sessions of the course.
There is no other way to say it but directly: those of you who have been and are being taught by whomever Jesus Christ is only lowly, meek and mild are being deceived! Truly, by His own testimony the Lord Jesus does invite persons weary and heavily weighted down from the “labor” of life in sin and religion to “Come to” Him, “take” His “yoke upon” themselves “and learn from” Him because He is “gentle and lowly in heart.” In doing as He says, these persons “will find rest for” their “souls,” (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV). To the humble, He presents Himself gentle and humble. But the proud in their sins should beware; this same Jesus holy and strong is King and Judge of all mankind!1
Even His Personal advance man, John the Baptist, was concerned if in fact Jesus of Nazareth was Israel’s long awaited Anointed of God--her promised King and Deliverer. After sending back word to John, the Lord essentially gave his eulogy and followed this sharply rebuking three cities of the Galilee that had been privileged to see many of His mighty works of power including Capernaum where His ministry was headquartered (Matthew 11:1-24). Then, the Lord Jesus prayed to His Father in the hearing of all present and on the basis of Their mutual knowledge and relationship, immediately pivoted to His hearers to issue the invitation cited in the opening of this post (Matthew 11:25-30).
Their King stood in their midst loving on them, but they did not receive Him because He did not fit their preconceived profile nor subscribe to their practice of external religion that blinded them as evidenced by what happens in Matthew 12:1-45. He invited faith in Him by the same kind of humble persons He had previously called “Blessed” in a sermon proclaimed to those assembled to Him on a mountain (Mathew 5:1-6, NKJV). Gentle and humble as “The Lamb of God” is part of the character and demeanor of Christ He still presents to those at this very hour that come to Him humble and broken in their sins (Psalm 51:16-17; John 1:29; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Peter 1:18-19, NKJV).
Unfortunately, either through genuine or willful ignorance or purposeful deception, many have portrayed the Lord Jesus as only “The Lamb” or worse, still the cute, harmless “Babe” in the manger. This has led to many false teachings such as Christ being not just tolerant, but accepting of biblically defined sin, His endorsement of other gospels including that built on covetousness for prosperity at all times and syncretism that seats Him at the table with religious figures and idol worshippers antithetical to His Word. And as if these were not enough as examples, many professed Christians deny God's Word denying Christ is now, “the Judge of all the earth,” (Genesis 18:25, NKJV)!2
Blinded by flawed presuppositions, reading into Scripture, purposeful corruption of the same and personal desires for what they want Christ to be, the false teachers also fail to see who He is in fullness not only as “The Lamb of God,” but “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David,” (2 Samuel 7:12-17; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:30-33; Revelation 5:5-6, NKJV). Validated by His resurrection, in strength and manner of a warrior He commenced issuing commands out of His delegated royal authority and continued reigning from the throne He shares with His Father upon being seated after His ascension (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:4-11; Ephesians 1:15-23)!3
To this hour the risen Christ reigns and as Judge is directly responsible for giving authorization for every judgment that has been and will be carried out on earth just as His Father assigned Him (John 5:24-30; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Revelation 20:11-15). He judges with the ready mercy He displayed at Sodom, as foretold of and taught by Him (Genesis 18:23-33; Isaiah 11:1-5; John 7:24).4 Thus, not the righteous or the unsaved humble He foreknows will come to Him need fear. It is the proud wicked to include religionists who resist the Gospel and insult His Person and cross by inventing other ways for folk to come to God besides Him that have much to fear at His soon coming in wrath (John 14:6; Acts 4:8-12; 1 John 2:18-23).5
A proud, overzealous religionist and Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus came to understand something of the terror involved encountering the risen Christ in His glory. In persecution of Christ’s followers, he was on his way to Damascus, Syria to round up and bring any back to Jerusalem in chains. A light “suddenly” engulfed him “from heaven.” “He fell to the ground and heard a voice” not gentle in tone, but resolute and full of authority. The Speaker identified Himself as “Jesus” and Saul “trembling” addressed Him “Lord,” (Acts 9:1-8, 22:6-11, 26:12-15, NKJV). Jesus in royal posture and fearful roar will be gloriously revealed from Heaven for all to see with the foretold results (Jeremiah 25:30-31; Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 1:7-18, 6:12-17, 19:11-16)!
When He comes, He as King and Judge will reign as He has from His resurrection; doing so in His whole eternal character and demeanor as foretold in prophetic Scriptures.6 For example, Psalm 99 declares His universal worship alone as “the LORD our God” and repeatedly emphasizes His holiness (vss. 1-3, 5, 9, NKJV). In His strength He loves justice and sees that it is administered with equity and righteousness; giving His laws as He once did with the saints of old (vss. 4, 6-8). Indeed, He will not be defeated in bringing forth justice for all (Isaiah 42:1-4)! This reality precludes the resumption of abominable idolatry, sorcery, sexual immorality, lying, exploiting and oppressions of any kind during His reign for He “will be a swift witness against” the guilty as Judge (Malachi 3:5-6, NKJV).
1 Read the three-part post beginning January 29, 2017, Jesus, Son Of Man, under the category, The Cause.
2 The Lord did not lose touch with any of His eternal designations or former experiences as deity in His permanent incarnation as the Man, Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, in
Genesis 18:25 Abraham spoke truthfully in that moment of His eternal standing as God the Judge and also prophetically, as the Man his future Descendant since He
stood before him in Human form (John 8:56-59)!
3 As the second Adam, Christ gloriously reigns fully God and fully immortal Man! See the August 11, 2019 post, The Man From Heaven, under the category, Glory To God!
4 Read the two-part post beginning July 18, 2021, God: No Repentance, No Peace, under the category, Call To Repent.
5 See the March 28, 2021 post, The Righteous Wrath Of God, under the categories, Bible Prophecy and The Cause.
6 I present Christ’s blended character and demeanor of Lamb and Lion as that of the Strong Man of God and what the Father wills to conform His adopted sons to as His
image in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. The book and companion Strong Man Of Men’s Group Study are available at your favorite internet book
seller and in the Strong Man Store.
Many today falsely claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, the Man from Heaven I wrote about in the August 11, 2019 post under the category, Glory To God! This is nothing new, of course, since those that are false or apostates have been present in all of the history of the Church on earth from the first century (Galatians 2:1-5; Philippians 3:17-19; Titus 1:10-16). But just as the Lord and His apostles foretold, these latter days overflowing with deception, falsehood and apostasy are especially filled with those that deceive themselves and anybody gullible enough to believe or worse, imitate them in their folly as professed Christians (Matthew 24:4-5, 11; 2 Timothy 3:1-9, 13; 2 Peter 2).
Exactly what does it mean to follow and be a follower of Jesus Christ?1 First, a basic understanding of each word to help get to what the Lord means by them. Webster’s Dictionary defines “follow” with several layers of meaning to include: “To come or go after; to chase, pursue; to attend, accompany…to comply with, obey and to come after in time, order or position.” It defines a “follower” as “One that follows--especially a pursuer; an attendant; a subordinate; an adherent of the methods or teachings of another.” In or about AD 30, Jesus of Nazareth began calling Israelites to repent, believe in and follow Him as the sign God’s promised Kingdom was near (Matthew 4:12-17).
He also directly and authoritatively called specific men to follow Him to do as He was doing (Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9). With the specific men, multitudes responded to His preaching and miraculous works of healing power to become His followers or disciples (Matthew 4:23-25) and gathered together to Him to hear Him teach (Matthew 5:1-7:27). It was not unusual for a Teacher or Rabbi to have a following and be popular in Israel in those days (Acts 5:34-39). However, none performed the miracles of Jesus or taught with His commanding authority (Matthew 7:28-29)! He taught those that gathered to Him what He required to be His disciple as He did on one occasion.
The Lord first told the twelve men He was equipping to be apostles He must suffer death and be resurrected (Luke 9:18-22). “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me,’” (Luke 9:23, NKJV). A faithful and true follower of Jesus Christ is to disown his life for the sake of chasing after, pursuing, being with, obeying and lining up behind Him to suffer death if necessary; filled with faith that just as God raised Christ from the dead, He will raise him too (Luke 9:24-26). Thus, the Lord plainly and firmly teaches there is a cost one must be willing to pay to be His disciple which He has never walked back!
This cost involves a giving over of self to following Christ so completely, He becomes the uppermost love of a man’s life. Too, there is a willingness to carry an assigned cross to the death and to “forsake all that he has” or he, says the Lord, “cannot be My disciple,” (Luke 14:25-33, NKJV). Nothing of Christ’s requirements to be His disciple is missing from His own life and example as the Disciple of God the Father (Isaiah 50:4; John 5:16-20, 6:38, 8:29). As a result, love for His Father above all others was Christ’s deepest motive for following Him and doing every single thing He had been shown and commanded to do without deviation (Mark 3:31-33; John 14:31).
Love for God the Father led to Christ’s resolve to bear and endure His cross as intensely difficult as it was to get there (Mark14:32-42; Hebrews 5:7-8). Nevertheless, He went to the cross forsaking any yearning for or claim to mortal pursuits; suffering its agony to please His Father and save fallen mankind (Isaiah 53:1-6; John 3:14-17, 19:17-18). He loudly cried out to His Father from the cross before yielding His spirit into His care at the finish of the mission (Matthew 27:45-46; Luke 23:46; John 19:30). He was buried with no one really understanding why He died, but at His resurrection on the third day after it was made plain to His followers (Isaiah 53:7-12; Luke 24:1-49).
At His command, His apostles went forth preaching the Good News about Him. Hearers through repentance and faith were and have been made new disciples of Christ from that time until now in nearly every nation on earth (Matthew 28:18-20)! They were all supposed to be taught the same instruction and requirements of following Christ as those in the first century.2 But even before that century ended satanically inspired deceit and falsehood to include religion invented by men began to arise and threaten the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3-4, NKJV). Following Jesus as He taught became the experience of but a remnant that God preserved in every generation.
1 Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is one of the important eternal roles of Christians I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy or
digital download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy
of the book in the Strong Man Store.
2 This is one of the common sense reasons God had the requisite teaching and commandments of Christ written down so they could be perpetually and accurately pre-
sented (Luke 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:1-15). Oh, how clever the deceiver and evil the guilty human hearts that have twisted and corrupted even the straightforward teaching and
commandments of Christ over the centuries to this very hour! And you do not think you will have to give an account to God for that?
Strong Man Of God Resources
Get Your Copy Of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics
Your purchase supports restoring men, families and communities through Strong Man Ministries!
Purchase It Now