Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mark 1:35-39

And in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. And Simon and his companions hunted for Him; and they found Him, and said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You." And He said to them, "Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for." And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons
Mark 1:35-39 NAS
The morning after Sabbath Before sunrise, Y'shua/Jesus left the house of Peter and Andrew to find a solitary place to pray. Praying outside into the sunrise is something that I think everyone should experience at least once, if not more often then that. Mark does not tell us how he prayed or what he prayed for. Peter probably did not know. We do know the result of that prayer. The determination to go to the next town with the message He came to proclaim.

They traveled throughout Galilee in the Northern territory of Herod Antipas who had recently imprisoned John the Baptizer (and would soon murder him). Every Sabbath they would go to the synagogue of the town with the message, "Repent and believe the Gospel." Synagogue is a place where a minimum of ten men met to study Torah, the Word of God, and give Him praise. Mark does not mention anyone being healed, but he does tell us that demons were driven out.

Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
Matthew 6:10

From a political perspective, the smart move might have been to start a grass-roots movement based in Capernaum. In just one day He had become wildly popular. Y'shua had come on the scene just as the well respected John the Baptizer was imprisoned. Y'shua had shown Himself to be far more powerful then demons and had proven that He was able to heal the sick. At first light the people of Capernaum were looking for Him. Anything He might have wanted would have been made available to Him there.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of the way is death
Proverbs 14:12

For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than you was, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9

"Everyone is looking for you."
"Let us go somewhere else"

The result of His morning of prayer was confirmation of the ministry that He had come for. He had come with a message, "The kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the gospel."

He chose obedience to God's way. They left Capernaum where people were seeking Him, to go seek those who did not know Him. Mark makes a point of telling us that He drove out demons. Demons lie. No lie is of the truth. Just as the truth and lies cannot co-exist, neither can righteousness tolerate demonic activity.

The message came in two phases. 1. Repent and 2. Believe the Gospel. To repent is to turn away from what you were following, the direction you were going and, facing God, walking toward righteousness. A demon will not and cannot repent. Only people can. Phase 2 is dependent on phase 1. You must repent to believe the gospel. To believe is to live in full submission to what you believe, in this case it is the Word of God that is believed. (Y'shua/Jesus is the Word of God) The submissive person is a servant to what they believe. You cannot serve two different masters.

Does it sometimes seem awkward to proclaim the Word of God to unbelievers or to invite them to church? Mark is telling us that Jesus went to synagogues where the whole point was to study the Word of God. But the people were not believers. Jesus asked them to repent of the way that seemed right to them and believe what they studied in synagogue, the Scriptures.

What place does Bible study have in your day? Life and the Will of God can be discovered in the Book, but only when you believe, when you are born from above, can you then live it with power.

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