World English Bible translation
1:35 Early in the night, he rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed. 1:36 Simon and those who were with him followed after him; 1:37 and they found him, and told him, "Everyone is looking for you."
1:38 He said to them, "Let's go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, for to this end I came forth." 1:39 He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons.
Jesus had been baptized by John and went into the wilderness to prepare and fast. He returned after John was arrested and began to proclaim that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He began to call the first of his disciples: Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. He took them to Capernaum and began to teach in the synagogue there. While He was teaching, a man with an unclean spirit entered and Jesus cast out the spirit. He then went to Peter's home and healed his mother-in-law of a fever. Word spread and by the evening many people had gathered who were ill. Jesus healed many of the people of Capernaum that evening.
Today's Scripture begins with the next morning. While all the others slept, Jesus rose early and went out into the desert to pray. As we proceed, we will see that this is typical of the way that Jesus responded to the events of His world. Before and after significant events, Jesus is regularly seen praying. His reliance on prayer is consistent. The Son of God regularly stops and speaks with His Father. In this He is our example. As children of the Father, we too should regularly find time to speak with the one who loves us best. We find time for the things in life that give us pleasure or the things that advance some goal of ours. But, regular communication with the Father in Heaven should be one of our highest goals.
After Jesus had been out praying, the disciples rose and went in search of Him. When they found Him, they told Jesus that the crowd was looking for Him already. But, instead of returning to Capernaum, Jesus told them, "Let's go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, for to this end I came forth." Jesus did not come primarily to heal illness. The healings were a part of His nature, but they were not His primary purpose. Jesus could have stayed in one place, like Capernaum, and people would have continued to bring the sick to Him for the rest of His life.
More important than healing is the spreading of the gospel. God sent forth the Son to bring the light of life into the world. Just as the sun in heaven does not stay in one place, the Son from heaven went from place to place in Galilee and spread the good news that the Kingdom was near.
So, Jesus and the disciples went throughout all of Galilee. He taught people about the Father and He healed the sick. He cast out demons and brought the gospel to mankind. As Jesus went about in Galilee, He went first to the synagogues. It was in these places that people came to hear what God had done for the people. But the message of Christ was not so much what God had done in the past, but what God was doing in the here and now.
When was the last time you felt an overwhelming compulsion to pray? Do those that know you best know you as a person of prayer?
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