God’s Word for You
Mark 1:35-39 To Galilee with the Gospel
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, August 28, 2021
Jesus Preaches in Galilee
35 Jesus got up early in the morning, while it was still dark, and went out. He withdrew to a solitary place and was praying there.
Our translation, “early in the morning,” is, in Greek, “very, very late at light.” Not midnight, or two, but closer to the darkest part of the night just before dawn. Even the roosters were still asleep. Jesus went out to find a quiet and private place where he could pray. As God, Jesus didn’t need to pray. But Jesus is also fully human, and as a man he prayed. What did Jesus pray about? We need to locate the passages when he prayed to answer that (Luke especially emphasizes the prayers of Jesus).
= At his baptism (Luke 3:21)
= Before he called the Twelve (Luke 6:12)
= Before Peter confessed Jesus’ divinity (Luke 9:18)
= At the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28)
= Before he taught the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1)
= Denouncing cities that rejected him (Matthew 11:25)
= Before he raised Lazarus (John 11:41-42)
= At the Last Supper (John 17:1-26)
= In Gethsemane, about his suffering (Luke 22:41-45, etc.)
There are others (Luke 5:16), but in these cases some of what Jesus prayed about is included. He prayed about his ministry, about what he had set out to do to give glory to the Father (even when he preached judgment), to give thanks, to proclaim the gospel, and to give his life as a ransom for many. He showed that he and Father are one (John 10:30). Jesus’ prayers were about his life, and God’s will. This is a model for our prayers.
36 Simon and his companions searched for him, 37 and, when they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is looking for you!”
They put a lot of effort into this search. They went looking for Jesus everywhere they could think of. In the town, on the quay, near the market stalls (none were open yet)… where could he be? Then extending the search into the countryside, did they fear to see his confident stride heading away from them, around some bend in the road, miles ahead? Had he left them? No. There he was, in a quiet spot. And what was he doing? Praying!
The disciples blurted out, “Everyone is looking for you!” The “everyone” meant the crowds from the night before. They probably came to see him and thank him, but he had already preached to them, and he had already healed them. It was time to move on.
38 He told them, “Let’s go somewhere else, to the neighboring villages, so that I can preach there too. In fact, that is why I have come.” 39 Then he went throughout the whole region of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
In Old Testament times, Galilee was especially taken up by the tribe of Naphtali, touching “Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west, and the Jordan on the east” (Joshua 19:34). In those days there were sixteen fortified cities with walls, nineteen other towns, and each city and town had surrounding villages. But in the days of the last king in the north, all of those people were taken away and deported to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). Now in New Testament times, most of those cities and villages had new names, or were new altogether. Capernaum was a crossroads of the northern part. Just over the hill, a good road led to Korazin (Matthew 11:21) and a string of villages to the north beyond. Another road ran east-west through the town, eastward around the lake and into the Decapolis, and westward to places like Magdala, Cana, Nazareth, and then Nain to the south.
Jesus wanted to visit them all, and preach the gospel. Abraham had believed the gospel, and the Lord credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). The righteous faith of the Christian is faith in the Savior, and this is how the work of Christ is credited to each of us, through faith. For anyone without it, “the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him” (Ezekiel 18:20). That’s clear enough, but the gospel is what changes the heart and truly turns each person from unbelief to faith. We believe that God raised up Jesus to wipe out the guilt of our sins, and that he raised Jesus from the dead. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and he was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). He came to preach this message, and to bring us to faith in him. He also uses Christians, you and me, to carry this message to our families, to our friends, and to everyone who needs to hear it.
Pastor Timothy Smith