Friday, 10 April 2009

Mark 1:35-39

Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, he went out and departed to a solitary place; and there he prayed.
  • What it would have been to have listened in on the prayers of the Son of God! Matthew Henry says, "though as God he was prayed to, as man he prayed." What prayers they must have been.

  • If the Son of God, though without sin, must pray - how much more we?

  • Jesus did not only pray at meetings of the synagogue, or with his disciples, or in family homes. He also sought a solitary place to pray on his own.

  • Early in the morning will always be the best time for prayer. Our minds are fresh, and not yet filled with all kinds of other things. Jesus chose this time even though he had been very busy the previous day, and through the evening (verse 21-34). The Sabbath had been the day before, but far from saying that he had done enough in spiritual duty for a few days now, Jesus was found praying early the next morning. How much more then must we?

  • He knew what he was to do that day - to go and preach (verses 38-39). But before he would preach, he must pray. Why do our efforts for the Lord often meet with so little success - is it for this reason; we have not, because we ask not? The Saviour set us a different example.
36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." 38 But he said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for his purpose I have come forth."
  • See here again (very common in Mark) Jesus' strong sense of divine purpose. He always knows what he is doing. Often it is "immediately" or "straight away" Jesus did such-and-such; Jesus gets up early; he is not swayed by local popularity; he knows where he came from and what he came for.

  • Whilst there is much in that observation that is unique to Jesus, yet there should be a reflection of the master in the disciple. Believers have a purpose. God has given us various different vocations in our lives - at home and at work. We have neighbourhoods, work places, work colleagues and families, and we have gifts and talents that God gave us to use amongst them. Should a believer be found slouching each evening in front of the television, or investing all his spare time in his own entertainment? No; he should be like the Saviour, knowing what his purpose is and not wasting the precious time given to him in carrying it out.

  • Jesus did not come for fame. He did not come for an earthly kingdom, earthly fame or earthly crowds. He came to set up the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15) - a kingdom unlike those of this world; much lesser when weighed by man's scales, but much greater in actuality. This kingdom spreads when the word spreads. There is preaching, which is then by the Spirit of God believed, and so it becomes mighty and powerful in changing lives and communities and countries. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed and like leaven - small and silent; but the greatest of the trees in the garden, and which will leaven the whole lump. Jesus did not stay in Capernaum because the people had been struck by his miracles. He must go and preach elsewhere too, and plant the seeds there. As-yet unknown truth can only be spread by declaring it. That is why preaching then and now must always take the primary place.
Mark shows us Jesus as the faithful servant of God - diligently about his Father's business. The Son of God came to serve us - and even to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). That's why Mark calls his book "gospel", or "good news". The Son of God has "come forth" on a mission - inviting us to enter the kingdom that he purchased through his death; the kingdom of forgiveness and new life with the Father. Hallelujah!

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