Compassionate, driven, disciplined.
Danger, Will Robinson.
When I was a little girl, I played school. I positioned my dolls in various places and took my position in the front of the classroom and taught my little students many things. If I could have my way with you, I would sit you down in my classroom to study the Bible, time would stand still, and we would read straight through the sixteen chapters of the gospel of Mark before breaking it down. We would be indelibly marked by our impressions of Jesus. . . his mission… his steady march toward a sure climax, punctuated by an empty tomb.
The danger, young Robinson? The danger lies in breaking down scripture for better understanding, and missing the God-breathed, over-arching picture theme of scripture.
From the Old Testament through the New Testament, we find the story of God—his plans, his heart. We find the story of man—our creation, our search for meaning, and the meeting of the two in Jesus Christ.
It would probably take an hour to sit down and read Mark’s gospel in its entirety. The other day, I listened to it [notes included at bottom of briefing for resource options]1, which was quite informative. Cannot miss that Jesus was a man of action, a man moved by compassion, aware of evil, and certainly cognizant always of his eventual final journey to Jerusalem.
The setting for today’s passage is in the little town of Capernaum, wonderfully excavated as it is, on the Northern shore of the Galilee. As in so many of the gospel happenings, the literal distance between one event and another is actually quite small—in this case, the short walk from the synagogue to Peter’s mother-in-law’s home, where Jesus evidently spent a lot of time. (Remember that Simon was Peter’s given name; Jesus gave him the name ‘Peter’…)
Grant us your wisdom and insight today, O Lord, as we read:
And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they *spoke to Jesus about her. And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.
When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Mark 1.29-35
Healer. Preacher. Leader. Son. Sought-after figure. In these several verses, we watch as Jesus heals Peter’s mother in law, tenderly taking her by the hand to help her stand to her feet.
Remember, Mark writes about this, though he was not present. Mark writes his gospel from the accounts of Peter, we believe, who lived and loved in a big way. So, after Peter’s mother-in-law is healed, Jesus, Simon and his brother, Andrew, James and John spend the rest of the Sabbath day in her home it seems.
And then ‘after the sun had set,’ people began to bring their sick to Jesus… he healed many and cast out demons as well. ‘After the sun had set? Why yes, that indicated the end of the Sabbath, as the Jews marked the day from sunset to sunset and still do.
Pictures flood my mind from ‘Shabbats’ in Jerusalem, a set-apart time. To be at the Western Wall at sunset on Friday evenings is to witness fervent times of prayer—in both the men’s section and the women’s section. There are many more people than any other day of the week and the entire area is teeming with energy—sometimes dancing and singing as well on Shabbat. One time a large group of IDF2 women were dancing with their machine guns swinging in the circle. Remarkable.
One year there was a Shabbat dinner in a Jerusalem home, where time seemed to stop as we shared together course after course with candle lighting, songs, blessings and prayers—the food all prepared beforehand, of course, as there can be no work done on Shabbat. It is a special time in the observant Jewish home.
Come sundown that day in Capernaum, the people brought their sick to Jesus, who compassionately, miraculously healed. The miracles of Jesus authenticated his message; with every healing, more people heard the gospel.3
And then we see firsthand the secret to Jesus’ strength… time alone with the Father…before even the sun came up. In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. I want to learn from Jesus’ choices, priorities and personal disciplines. Was there any greater one than this—starting the day in prayer to his Father? Alas, I think not. No wonder then that Jesus was so compassionate, so driven and so on point. He knew where his strength lie—time with the Father. Same with you, same with me.
For the title of this Morning Briefing-- - I used the words 'compassionate, driven, and disciplined' to describe Jesus. I submit to you that if we too start each day in Scripture and in prayer-- it will go a long way toward making us more like him. And never forget--he is still in the miracle-working business.
The Footsteps of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, 6.
2 - Israeli Defense Forces
3 - Chuck Swindoll, Living Insights-Mark