(Mark 1:35-39 HCSB) 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. 36 Simon and his companions went searching for Him. 37 They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You! ” 38 And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” 39 So He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Mark Chapter 1 is a whirlwind of activity. From the introduction of John the Baptist, to the baptism of Jesus; demons were driven out, lepers were healed, a woman was raised from a fever. Verse 32 tells us, “at sundown they brought him all who were sick or oppressed.” Can you imagine? I get tired just thinking about it.
After having ministered to as many as he could, he withdrew himself to rest. Instead of sleeping in, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there.”
There is much to be said here about the importance of prayer. Jesus drew his strength and spiritual authority from the Father. We should note that Jesus did not yet possess ALL authority. The Father had not yet placed that designation upon him. The authority upon which Jesus depended was obtained through these times of personal communion with the Father.
As I read this portion of scripture, I was struck by another thought. Jesus “moved on” from an atmosphere that was charged with faith! “Simon and his companions went searching for Him. 37 They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You! ” 38 And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.”
What? This flies in the face of reason. When we view this from a human perspective we might reason, “Why would I go somewhere else and start over when I already have a growing ministry in this community?” There are people in need right here. Right now. I can heal people here. I can cast out demons right here. I can raise the dead without having to go anywhere else. Why leave? Did Jesus not care about those who were in need?
Jesus was determined to stay on mission. He delighted in meeting the immediate needs of the flesh for the many people following him. He gladly displayed his authority over demons so that people could understand the power he possessed. But, Jesus had to guard against getting caught up in immediate things that threatened to take his attention from the important thing. He saw in the spirit what everyone else was missing because of their fleshly inclinations.
Jesus made it clear that his primary purpose was to spread the message to as many people as possible in the limited amount of time that he had. The value of his message to the masses was greater than the value of meeting the needs of a few people in a regionalized setting.
We may not always understand what God is up to. But, by trusting him we can be sure that he will always work in a way that will bring the most positive result for the furtherance of His kingdom. And when his kingdom advances, it will ultimately further the welfare of his people. Like Jesus, we should want his kingdom to advance. We should want as many people as possible to experience new life through Jesus. That is, after all, the reason he came!
PRAYER: Jesus! Thank you for coming to share eternal life with all who receive it. Your message is transformational. May it touch as many as is possible, and use me to help spread the message of hope that comes through knowing you! Amen.