We were exhausted from traveling for nearly two days without much sleep. This was the first morning after our first night of real sleep during our first Israel tour. Ha! Can we say first?
Imagine waking up by the Sea of Galilee. That thought alone peaked a holy reverence in Carolyn and I as we began the day with prayer.
It was easy to pray. There was liberty. The spiritual air was light.
Our first thoughts (there’s another first) were overlaid with the Spirit’s thoughts. “This was a happy place for Jesus.” Such a simple child-like thought, but we recognized its origin. This is where Jesus enjoyed great liberty.
In His home town of Nazareth they didn’t receive Him. In the synagogue they stared Him down, and then almost ran Him down off a high precipice. When He set His face toward Jerusalem His mood changed. The liberty He enjoyed in Galilee was for the most part missing, and at best, short-lived in Jerusalem. Even Joseph and Mary, in their endeavor to protect baby Jesus, withdrew into Galilee when Herod’s son began to reign in his stead. Imagine a principality who commands all male babies under the age of two to be killed. That was Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. But Galilee was a happy place for Jesus.
The Holy Spirit showed us the heart of Jesus in this place. This is where He began His ministry of power. The 40 day fast and wilderness temptations transitioned Jesus from being full of the Spirit to being full of power. There is a difference.
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…” (Lk 4:1)
“Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.” (Lk 4:14)
This is what’s happening in some churches right now. There is a spiritual readiness to make advances through prayer and fasting. For others, the beginning of the year began this way, but the call for those who are watchful and hungry is to pray until.
Jesus knew that the liberty He and the disciples enjoyed would be temporarily gone during and after His persecution and death at Jerusalem. The disciples would be scattered until Pentecost when they would then go out in that same power.
Satan is an old devil and he kills liberty. It’s always been that way. Jesus overcame first in the wilderness and then in the public arena. Like a skilled boxer Jesus moved with quick jabs, hard uppercuts, and sweeping hooks and quickly put the devil on the ropes. Everywhere Satan went, Jesus had already been there. By the time He entered Jerusalem the damage to Satan’s kingdom had already been done, and His fame had spread throughout all of Galilee and beyond.
We often forget that Jesus did not stop at the Jordan with the descending of the Spirit and the affirming voice of God the Father. He was led into the wilderness and opened up the region of Galilee to great power through prayer and fasting. Unlike Jesus, when we’re often moved by His Spirit and sense His love, we stop and never go far enough or deep enough to loose cities and regions from long-standing strongholds built up by principalities and powers.
It’s an important time now for the body of Christ to understand this vital truth about prayer and fasting.
I thought I was done with blogging on this theme, but I was mistaken. Stay tuned for Part 2 on what the Spirit spoke to us by the Sea of Galilee.