SOAP Devotional 2014-09-12
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. ” (Matthew 4:12-17 NLT)
When Jesus first began his public ministry. Why he preached where he preached, who he preached to, and what he preached was significant. The first reason he preached where he did was to fulfill prophecy, but the purpose was to allow his light to shine in a dark place, “in Galilee where so many Gentiles live”. Jesus had three cities that were called his cities. Nazareth where he was conceived and raised, Bethlehem where he was born, and Capernaum where he spent most of his three years of ministry and did so many miracles. He had been rejected in his own home town, but here, by the sea of Galillee, he called his disciples. And here he did not preach to the religious elite, but to the common man and even to the Gentiles. And his message was for people to change their way of thinking about life and to turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven was near.
We may find ourselves rejected in areas and heard in others. Jesus did, too. The Father already had a plan and even had the prophet tell about it long before Jesus came. The secret is to find out where God wants us. If the elite will not hear, then we will share the message with the common man. A light always shines brighter in darkness. It is there that we make the biggest differences. Our message is the same. People need to repent, change their sinful attitudes and ways of thinking, and turn to God, because the time is short before the kingdom will be established. We have specifics about turning to God. No man comes to the father except through the son. To turn to God, they must turn to Jesus to be their Lord and savior. Jesus set a good example for ministry. We would do well to follow it.
Father, thank you for sending me to dark places with your light shining bright around me. It is in those places, I become unnoticeable because your light is overwhelming. Help me to be where you want me to be, speak to whom you want me to speak, and to preach your message of repentance and turning to you.