Before All Else

Before All Else – Mark 1:21-39

Imagine a pastor who has had an extremely busy and exhausting Sunday. He returns home to take a well-earned rest. Then there’s a knock on the door, and his whole church is outside. The same thing happened to Jesus. After a busy Sabbath day ministering to the people in Capernaum, Jesus went to Peter’s home to rest. There He graciously healed Peter’s mother-in-law (vv. 29-31). That evening, ″the whole town gathered at the door″ asking for Jesus’ help. He had compassion on the crowd and ″healed many″ and ″drove out many demons″ (vv. 33-34).

The ministry of Jesus was characterised by His compassion (see Mark 1:41, Mark 6:34) and authority. Earlier in the day, Jesus taught in the synagogue; His listeners were ″amazed at his teaching″ because ″he taught them as one who had authority″ (v. 22). People recognised authority residing in Him. He showed the same authority when He casts out an evil spirit from a demonised man (vv. 23-27) and healed people (vv. 33-34).

The third characteristic of the ministry of Jesus was His faithfulness. We are not sure if Jesus got any sleep that night, having to minister to such a large number of troubled and needy people. But no matter how little sleep He had, He still did not take a much-deserved day off. Instead, He woke up really early to spend time with His Father. Mark, who is usually economical with his words, emphasises this point: ″Very early in the morning, while it was still dark . . .″ (v. 35). Jesus showed us that no amount of busyness should deter us from spending time with God, without which our ministry will run dry or run aground.

It is because Jesus spent time with His Father in prayer that He was able to see through the subtle temptation presented by the disciples, who were frantically searching for Him. ″Everyone is looking for you!″ they exclaimed (v. 37). It was nice to be needed and tempting to remain in Capernaum. Instead, Jesus told His disciples, ″Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages″ (v. 38). Other places needed to hear Him. There was work to be done. ″That is why I have come″-Jesus was faithful to the calling and mission that His Father gave Him.

Think Through:

Consider the three characteristics of the ministry of Jesus. What do they say about who Jesus is? Prayerfully examine how each of these characteristics find expression in the way the Lord relates and ministers to you.

The disciples bring news of how popular Jesus has become in Capernaum, but no matter how tempting it is to remain, Jesus continues on with His mission. What can you learn from Jesus that is applicable to your own experience?

Taken from Journey Through Mark: 62 Biblical Insights by Robert M. Solomon.

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