“On Your Mark”
A Prayer Soaked Ministry (Chapter 1 Verses 35-39)
The sheer discipline of Jesus is amazing, despite the long hard day, he is up very early (v35), and engaging in private prayer. His praying, as recorded (Luke 3.21; 5.16; 6.12; 9.18; 11.1; Matthew 11.25; John 11.41 17.1), always, seems connected to something of significance in his ministry. In this particular instance it is his resolve to preach the gospel of the kingdom. As a man Jesus was dependant upon his Father in all things, it was in this way he prayed, and expressed his obedient love and perfect unison with his Father. In constant communication with his Father, bringing his work and ministry, for which the Father had sent him, and given him to do, before that same Father. The Son of God was sinless, but as a man he was kept so by the regular use of the means of grace, not in neglect of them. One of our biggest problems today, is that we live at a hundred miles an hour, way too fast. We need to slow down, find a quiet, deserted place, for solitary, self-examination, and meditation upon the being and the word of God. There is far too much preaching and hearing with us, but not enough of this solitary, contemplative prayer life. And the more work you have to do, the more you need to pray.
The disciples finding the Lord missing went in search of him (v36). That is a good thing to do as well. Are you finding him somewhat absent from you at the moment? But they were not the only ones (v37). The people from the previous evening no doubt, spread the word about Jesus and his ministry, thus draw even more people to him. They obviously did not want him to leave the area (Luke 4.42). Jesus cannot concede to their request, he has pressing business (Mark 1.14-15, 38). This verse ought to silence forever and ever those who complain about preaching, the fact that the eternal Son of God himself undertook the office of a preacher is enough to tell us it is a valuable means of grace. Preaching is God’s principal instrument in awakening sinners and edifying Christians. The kingdom of God is built and established by preaching. The Lord tells us himself here, that his work, his mission was, by the means of this gospel preaching, to draw people to repentance and faith. Bringing them under the blessed rule of himself, King Jesus, by preaching. The preaching of God’s word is an essential, a must, the Church has a moral obligation to preach. It was for this reason Jesus was sent, commissioned by his Father, and he says to his Church, in the very same way, “even so send I you” (John 20.21). The great need of the day, gospel preaching Churches, exposing the hearts and minds of people to the word of God. No not simply the ABC’s of the gospel. But thorough, serious and thoughtful expository, proclamation of the whole counsel of God.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)