DELIVERED AT DUSK
Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. 31 So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
Preaching in Galilee35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 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 this purpose I have come forth.” 39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.
Talk about contrasts. Jesus goes from a noisy, demonstrative, and crowd gathering expulsion of a demon in a religious service, to a quiet and gentle healing at Peter’s home. This encounter in a home setting happens on the same eventful Sabbath as the fishing miracle, the Synagogue expulsion, and the securing of the first disciples in Jesus adopted home, Capernaum.
1) AFTERNOON AND MOM’S CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
This miraculous healing couples well with the earlier act of deliverance, as they are both samples of things to come, serving as previews of coming attractions at Cinema Jesus. But when you look at the two premier events, the healing is an example that leans toward intimacy and ordinary circumstances vs. the dynamic and explosive nature of demon hunting.
Mark’s record is as brief as possible. He doesn’t even use Jesus name on the Marquee. Even then, the power of our Savior and His charm are felt just as forcefully in this purely domesticated need as it is seen in the public exorcism. We can assume that Mark and the two other Synoptic Gospel writers include this story in their recollections as it demonstrates one of the many events that would have taken place in a day in the life of Jesus as He traversed Capernaum, and in this case, as narrated by the Apostle Peter himself. We can also safely assume that Mark also wants us to see the importance of receiving ministry and being released to minister. This is demonstrated in his addition of the fact that as a result of her healing, she served them.
At the surface the meaning is simple. She prepared lunch, but the underlying truth goes much deeper, as Mark intentionally connects Pete’s mom to all of us. She represents all of us, when we are healed we are then enabled to serve others in the body of Christ. We will see this later on a much grander scale, when Jesus teaches us about greatness in the Kingdom, by asserting that to be great, you must become the servant of all. Greatness isn’t measured by accomplishments or supernatural deeds, it’s measured by one’s ability to serve (Mark 9:33-35). This thought process runs contrary to common Judaic practice, and it will take the followers of Jesus time before their spiritual blindness is healed and they acknowledge that Jesus is the greatest servant ever.
2) SUNDOWN SCENARIO
Let’s face it Jesus attracted large crowds wherever He want in Judea. Sometimes the crowds were so thick; a crippled man on a stretcher couldn’t be brought to Him. His friends were forced to create a hole in the roof of the house where Jesus was and then he was lowered down through the hole into the presence of Jesus (Luke 5:17-26). These crowds were always in the background of the story of Jesus, as they were constantly approaching him with their needs, Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread (Mark 3:20). When Jesus and the disciples wanted to be alone they had to try and sneak away, although that didn’t always work, And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. 33 But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him (Mark 6:31-33).
An interesting side note to our story is the town’s reaction to Jesus as He stayed at Pete’s Place. As good Jews, they waited until sundown and the ending of Sabbath before they began bringing the sick and needy to Jesus for ministry. Mark describes the scene outside the door, as the whole town converging upon this divergent minister and His healing ministry and deliverance activities. Mark again distinguishes between the two, healing and deliverance, which is important as he will show us that Jesus delivers people of demons that masquerade as disease, and that he heals people with the disease who didn’t have a demon as the source of the symptoms.
Jesus also muzzles the demons voices. He does this with deliberation, as they knew Him and who He is. The reason for the quieting of the voices is that there understanding was demonically inspired, and Jesus only wants people to acknowledge who He is as an act of faith, thus keeping the knowledge pure and undefiled, as people observed His works and accepted His teachings.
3) MORNING HAS BROKEN
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 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 (Mark 1:35-37).”
I’m going to say something that may sound strange at first, we can really learn how to pray like Jesus prayed by observing the way He prayed in what many people today would call undisciplined and unorthodox, and we can receive freedom and encouragement from His example.
Our next scene gives us a peek into the personal aspect of Jesus life as told from Pete’s perspective. Following this day long ministry adventure, Jesus is up before the crack of dawn praying. When the disciples find Him, the tone of rebuke in their comments show us that they were way more impressed with the supernatural manifestations that Jesus. Jesus would not be deterred from His mission of proclaiming His Father’s Kingdom and confronting the powers of darkness. Jesus prayer time was interrupted by people seeking Him out to do more, which could have served as a temptation for fame and glory.
The stage that Jesus is operating from is eerily reminiscent of the desert place where He had waged the battle royal with the enemy in the wilderness desert, even though Capernaum was surrounded by cultivated fields, as most Translations render the word solitary place as a wilderness or desert place. Mark shows us that Jesus withdrew into isolated places, which served as symbolic deserts for Him. This is really important to us as we read the story in Scripture, as it points us to something that is far more wonderful and powerful than the night of miracles. Jesus pushes us to go beyond the amazing into the reality of who He is and what He calls us to do.
The example of Jesus here is to teach us to never be content with the greatest victories we have in fulfilling our mission. We are to do what Jesus does, which means we push on into the next sphere of Heavenly outbursts of glory and presence. Jesus left the accolades of the crowds to go into territory that was unconquered and unclaimed for the LORD. To do otherwise can open us up to the tempter, who tries to use success to “settle” those God calls to be unsettled pioneers, as we push the boundaries concerning our relationship with Him. We are going to see that Jesus will go to great lengths to pursue the Cross because He refused to settle for anything less than His Father and our Father’s will.
It shouldn’t surprise us that Jesus prayed. What stands out to me in this pericope is the difficulty Jesus had in finding the time and solitude to pray, and the determination He showed in overcoming this difficulty. This is really important, as it shows us that the prayer after success is often more important than the prayers we offer up before we strike out to do the stuff of the Kingdom.
Let me ask you a question, do any of you deal with erratic schedules, family demands, difficulties on the job, little personal time? Jesus dealt with all of those things just like us. Jesus also had to deal with the people who came to Him for ministry and instruction on the one day of the week He worked. My point is this, when we compare the hectic schedules and demands that life brings our way, they are no more demanding than the ones we see pressing into Jesus and His needs for rest and the limitation of 24 hour days. When you find it hard to get alone with God, remember that Jesus had the same struggle. Even as our jobs are demanding, so was His.
It’s really amazing to think about it, but Jesus lifestyle wasn’t always conducive to a life of prayer, at least the type of prayer lifestyles that we try and create that lend themselves to unhurried schedules and regular times away. Kansas City is the epitome of this mindset that schedules prayer regularly, makes room for solitude and silence, and offers up intercession. Jesus life was a sharp contrast from that one. His was almost like a Presidential Candidate, always in the public eye, never far from the clamor of the public eye, constantly traveling from place to place, with a present reality that embraces, the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58).
Yet Jesus did find time to pray, although it wasn’t always convenient or timely. Sometimes He would send the Apostles and the people ahead of him and He would find a place to pray in the hills while He walked (Mark 6:45-46). Sometimes He got up early, at other times He stayed up late to pray, However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed (Luke 5:15-16). The example that Jesus left us teaches us that we need to frequently commune with our Father. It also teaches us that we may have to overcome obstacles in order to have this time with Him. The ideal approach to prayer is to have a regularly scheduled time with Jesus. The reality may be less than ideal. That’s how it was with Jesus. Making up time as you go may be the best you can do, just remember to do the best you can do, ok? Jesus tenacity in finding the time to pray should be challenging to us.
Jesus example of a model prayer life is encouraging, especially when we are feeling guilty for having an irregular prayer life that reflects the daily interruptions of children, crisis, and traffic jams, or factory whistles. Jesus knows that ours is not the life of 12th Century Monks regardless of Tenebrae. Jesus will understand both our failures and our triumphs as we set out to find time to be with our Father in Heaven just like He did.
Here’s the fruit of Obedient faith in the light of prayer “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Have you ever wondered why Jesus had us to pray like this? Is God about to lead us into temptation? God tempts no one (Read James 1:13-14), so Jesus is not contradicting what we know to be the nature of God.
Jesus is reminding us that we are engaged in a spiritual struggle, and there is a being (“the evil one”) that we are having to deal with relentlessly.
When Jesus, in Gethsemane, said to Peter and John, “Pray that you won’t enter temptation,” He was talking about the raising of an alert in our soul of our vulnerability. It’s not only a reminder that if I’m tempted, God didn’t get me there, but the fact that I need to call on Him if I’m going to find my way through this. Jesus told Peter and John, “Watch and pray.” We need an alertness quickened to our hearts because we can be caught in a “slumber” about issues dissolving around us and starting to flavor our lives with something other than the flavor of the kingdom.
“Deliver us from evil” also has to do with tests and trials that are always present. (Read 1 Peter 4:12) and God’s faithfulness that “with the temptation [He]will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13)
Jesus is dealing with the principle of freedom from the bondage the soul can come under by submitting to its own inclinations. Learning to live and walk in obedience on the Lord’s terms brings the capacity to rise above the works of the evil one to subtly manipulate, cause us to be blinded, or submit to things outside the divine order for our lives.
The call to obedience is to recognize you make choices, and if those choices will be to resist the devil, he will flee. The adversary has little chance of success against that kind of defense.