35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
(Mark 1:35-39 NIV)
The past two days, we have looked at one day in Jesus’ ministry – a Sabbath in Capernaum, where He preached in the synagogue, cast out an impure spirit, healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a high fever, and went late into the evening healing people in front of Peter’s front door.
Today, we see the beginning of the next day in Jesus’ ministry – the day after the Sabbath (Sunday). Early Sunday morning, Jesus slips out of the house unnoticed and goes to a quiet, remote place to pray.
Using our imaginations for just a bit, let us step into in Peter’s sandals. The night before had been busy, and everyone had been up late. Peter and his family, as well as their guests (Andrew, James, and John), were likely exhausted and had hoped to sleep in for a little bit. But it was not to be. Just as the sun came up, there was a commotion in the narrow alleyway, followed by a loud knock on the door. When Peter opened the door, the crowd inquired if Jesus could come out and perform more miracles.
Peter went back inside and quickly discovered that Jesus was nowhere to be found. He hurriedly woke up Andrew, James, and John, and they pushed their way through the crowds to go look for Jesus.
Mark uses the phrase “Simon and his companions”, clearly telling the story from Peter’s point of view. After an indeterminate amount of time, the three men found Jesus. They let Jesus know that the crowds were back and looking for Him (v. 37).
Jesus’ response (v. 38) revealed that His purpose was to preach, not just to heal the sick. Without looking back, Jesus launched out to preach and cast out demons throughout the region of Galilee (v. 39).
I hope you had not swapped out your hiking boots or walking shoes for a pair of flip flops, thinking you were going to stay put for a while. Mark launches out with his story of Jesus (through Peter’s eyes) and puts us on the road once more. Off we go on our next adventure in Jesus’ story!
Jesus’ purpose statement (v. 38) and His subsequent actions (v. 39) tell us much about His heart. Jesus would battle fame and celebrity status for the rest of His ministry. Jesus knew that the tide of public opinion would eventually turn against Him. The crowds did not want Him, but rather what He could do for them.
Today, we would say that Jesus was an “overnight success”. Someone in the crowd would video one of Jesus’ miracles, post it on the Internet, and the incident would go viral, with millions of people watching what happened.
What is our purpose, our calling? Are we here for our own glory? And what is the cost of that celebrity status? Do people want us, or only what we can give them? Is there something more that they want? What happens to us when we exhaust our limited resources?
Thankfully, the Lord tells us that as followers of Christ, we are called to a higher calling, for an eternal purpose. We are not here on this earth for our glory, but for His. He supplies the power and resources to serve Him and others for the glory of God.
May we walk and serve in our true calling.