Mark 1:35-45: Focus and Compassion
April 4, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jesus sets a model for us to follow. He rose early in the morning while it was still dark, found a place to be quiet, and prayed (1:35). Think for a moment, beloved. If the Son of All Glory, God Incarnate, Jesus the Christ, need pray—and pray with sufficient passion and conviction to rise early in the morning—then who among us dare begin any new venture, make any significant decision, attempt any major new initiative, without committing the time to pray? It shows the humility of the Christ, his wisdom and his utter dependence that he so prays. What an example for us to follow! Take no extra time to worry about the day ahead; commit it to the Lord in prayer, cast your burdens there.
Having so prayed, Jesus now decides with clarity about his future direction. He has come to preach (1:38). Jesus was a preacher. This fact is so often obscured by emotional, sentimental, or social justice descriptions of Jesus that it need be underlined. Jesus was a preacher. He left one town where there were many opportunities for social care in order to be an itinerant preacher. This is why he came. Preachers, so called, must focus on that calling and not be distracted by other (even good) things. The word of God must take priority in the lives of the ministers of God.
Immediately, though, a leper asks to be healed (1:40). And moved with compassion, Jesus heals (1:41-42). Though Jesus has precise focus, he does not ignore the compassionate needs of those around. His clarity that he is called to preach does not prevent him from healing. He will not heal everyone in Israel who is sick at the time—for his focus in salvific and atoning and proclamation—but because he cares he will minister to those around.
When the phone rings, there is a knock on the door, when there is good to be done, it is right for us to do that good as opportunity arises. Jesus instructs him not to tell people (1:44). But this instruction is not obeyed (1:45). Thereafter, Jesus continues to be mobbed by the needs of people; it is hard for him to focus on his calling.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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