Dedicated to Prayer

Mark 1

Saturday, July 23, 2022

As usual, there are many areas we could focus on in today’s devotion.  I’d like to start with a very quick recap of Mark 1.

Mark 1 starts out with John the Baptists preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (1:4) to prepare the way for Jesus.  Compared with the Old Testament sacrifices, this was revolutionary – introducing a new and better way to reconcile with God.  Confess sins, turn away from those sins, and be baptized for the forgiveness of those sins.

Mark 1 continues with Jesus’ baptism, when God declared, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased.”  After which Jesus went into the desert to be tempted by Satan for 40 days.

After that, as Jesus performed miracles, “News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.” (1:28)  After sunset one evening, Mark 1:33 says, “The whole town gathered at the door”, because Jesus was healing many who had various diseases and casting out demons.

Mark 1:35 gives some insight into Jesus’ prayer life, “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.”  He was interrupted by his disciples, who said, “Everyone is looking for you.”  But Jesus left to go preach elsewhere because that was why he was sent.

Then, Mark 1:40-42 tells us, “A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, If you are willing, you can make me clean.  Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.  I am willing, he said.  Be clean!  Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.”  As a result of his healing, this man told everyone what Jesus had done.  Mark 1:45 tells us, “As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.  Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.”

The three things that stand out to me in Mark 1 are:

  1. Jesus’ dedication to prayer.
  2. Jesus’ compassion.
  3. Jesus’ popularity – because people couldn’t stop themselves from telling all that Jesus had done.

After staying up very late at night healing people who started to arrive after sunset, Jesus got up very early in the morning while it was still dark to go to a solitary place to pray.  Obviously, prayer was more important to Jesus than sleep.  I think there is a correlation between Jesus’ prayer life and his successful ministry.  How’s your prayer life?

Jesus healed so many people because he had compassion for them, and wanted to relieve their suffering.  I’m especially touched by his reaction to the man with leprosy who came to Jesus, begging to be healed.  Remember that leprosy made a person unclean.  According to the Old Testament law, such a person was an outcast, who had to stay away from people, wear a covering over their mouth, and yell “unclean”.  By coming to Jesus, this guy was breaking the law.  But he knew he likely had a terminal illness, and Jesus was his only possibility of a cure.  

And instead of shrinking back from this man, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.  This man had probably not felt another human touch for years.  And Jesus deliberately touched him and healed him.

Do you recognize that your sins are a terminal illness?  Will you come to Jesus, and beg him on your knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”?  If you do, Jesus is still compassionate and will forgive your sins.

Finally, after Jesus healed people, and changed their lives, they couldn’t help but tell everyone what Jesus had done for them.  I can just imagine one of them saying something like, “You know this horrible problem I had?  Well, Jesus completely healed me and gave me a new lease on life.  I know you have some issues too, and I think you should go to Jesus to be healed like I was.  It will change your life too.”  – And as a result, Jesus’ fame and popularity exploded.  Because people couldn’t stop talking about what Jesus had done for them.

What has Jesus done for you?  How are you doing telling everyone you know?

In closing, I’d like to challenge you in a few areas.  First, step up your prayer life.  Give it a test.  Deliberately dedicate time early in the morning to pray, and seek God.  After a week, see what a difference it has made in your life.  If you see a great change, continue the practice.

Second, take all of your problems to Jesus (in prayer).  Your sins, your suffering, your concerns.  Jesus is still compassionate.  Sometimes, he grants physical healing, more often spiritual healing.  Give it a try.

Finally, once Jesus has done something for you, tell everyone you know how He has changed your life.

–Steve Mattison

Application Questions –

Today’s questions came from the devotion – go ahead and give some more time thinking about, and acting on, them.

  1. How’s your prayer life? What could you give up to make more time for prayer? Try the prayer test this week.
  2. Do you recognize that your sins are a terminal illness?  Will you come to Jesus, and beg him on your knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”?  What will spiritual healing look like?
  3. What has Jesus done for you?  How are you doing telling everyone you know?
%d bloggers like this: