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Intro: The first year of the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus was spent in relative obscurity. There is very little information given to us of those early days. We do know that He was preaching the Gospel in the southern parts of Israel and reaching out to lost souls. Mark’s gospel introduces us to the early days of our Lord’s second year of earthly ministry.
The first year of Christ’s ministry has been called The Year Of Obscurity. The second year is called The Year Of Popularity. Mark passes over the first year of Jesus’ ministry and begins at that time when Jesus was beginning to gain a following in Israel.
As we have followed Mark’s narrative in this chapter, we saw the Lord call His first disciples, v. 16-20. We have also watched Him at work preaching in the synagogue, v. 21-22; casting out devils, v. 23-28; and healing many that were sick, v. 29-34. We have been watching the Amazing Servant go about His Father’s business.
As we have followed Jesus through these events, we have seen the Preaching and the Power of The Amazing Servant. Today, we are going to examine The Passion Of The Amazing Servant.
These verses reveal the great passions that moved the heart of the Savior. This brief glimpse into one early morning quiet time reveals what was important to the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to look at these motivating factors because what was important to Jesus should be what is important to us.
Let’s join Jesus in His quiet time and learn about the passions that stirred His soul. As we see His passions revealed, let’s ask the Lord to create within our own hearts a love for the same things. I want to take these verses and preach on The Passion Of The Amazing Servant.
I. v. 35 JESUS POSSESSES A PASSION FOR PRAYER
A. The duties of the Sabbath had been brutal. After preaching in the synagogue, Jesus was confronted by a demon possessed man. Jesus cast out that demon. He leaves the synagogue to go to Peter’s house for lunch. When He arrives, Jesus finds Peter’s mother-in-law sick with a fever. Jesus heals her. When sundown comes, all the people in Capernaum bring the sick and those possessed with devils for Jesus to heal them. He does this, no doubt meeting people and helping them way into the night.
Yet, a late night does not prevent Jesus from an early morning meeting with His Father. We are told that Jesus rose up “a great while before day and went to a secluded location to pray. We do not know exactly what time Jesus went to prayer, but we can guess that it was somewhere between 3 AM and 4 AM.
This is not the only time we will find the Lord Jesus involved in a time of communion with the Father. In fact, His ministry is marked by times of protracted prayer. Jesus is pictured in prayer no less than 25 times in the Gospels. Communion with the Father was one of the marks of the Messiah, Isa. 50:4.
B. The fact that Jesus prayed raises some interesting questions.
· What did Jesus pray about? Most of our praying can be described by the acrostic A.C.T.S. That is, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Since Jesus was sinless, He had no need of confession. But, we can be sure that He spent much time in adoration, thanksgiving and supplication.
Jesus went out to pray that morning after a day of powerful ministry. I am sure that He took time to thank the Father for His blessings, His presence and His power. I am sure that He prayed for the people who had been healed. He must have prayed that they would see beyond the miracles and be saved. He must have prayed for His disciples, that they would be men of God. He must have prayed for Himself. He desired the Father’s blessings and power. Surely, Jesus went out that morning to seek the Father’s will for the direction of His ministry. There must have been many items on His prayer list that morning.
· Why did Jesus even need to pray? He was God in the flesh, after all. We need to remember that Jesus was God in human flesh, but He did not come to this world to live as God, He came to live as a Spirit-filled man. Jesus prayed because He lived His life in total dependence on the Father. Jesus prayed because He wanted a totally unhindered fellowship with the Father. Jesus wanted the Holy Spirit to be able to flow through His life in absolute freedom and power. Thus, Jesus made every effort to stay in close, constant communion with His Father.
· Why did Jesus seek a place of solitude? He wanted His prayer time to be uninterrupted and unhindered. Jesus knew that His prayer time was precious and private and He wanted nothing to be able to come between Him and time spent in His Fathers presence.
C. Our Lord’s early morning prayer meeting has some valuable lessons to teach us, if we will hear them today.
· If Jesus, Who is God in human flesh, felt the need for prayer in His life, how much more do we need to make prayer a priority in our own lives? Prayer is essential for a holy, empowered spiritual life. A preacher by the name of E. Stanley Jones says that prayer is “a time of exposure to God. Sadly, most Christians in our day are underexposed! In fact, I know of no one who is overexposed! If we want a life that can be used of God for His glory, then we must pray. If we want the power of God on our lives, then we must pray. If we want to live holy lives, then we must pray. Prayer is the absolute nonnegotiable requirement for a life of power in the things of God.
· The Bible has much to say about prayer.
We are commanded to pray 1 Thes. 5:17; Luke 18:1; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2.
We are given instruction as to how to pray Luke 11:1-4.
We are given great examples of prayer Abraham, Moses, Hannah, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Hezekiah, Jonah, Paul and many more are listed as pray warriors in the Bible. Of course, Jesus prayed.
We are given instruction as to how not to pray Matt. 6:5-8.
We are given promises in prayer Jer. 33:3; Isa. 65:24; Matt. 7:7-11; Phil. 4:6-7.
· Prayer is not about getting our will done in Heaven, but about getting God’s will on earth. When Jesus went out to pray, He probably prayed about the direction of His ministry. Surely He was asking the Father what He should so and where He should go next. What a contrast of how we pray! We make our plans and then we ask the Lord to bless what we have already decided to do! That is backwards.
We should seek His will and direction for our lives. When He tells us what He wants us to do and we do it, we can rest assured of His blessings!
· Prayer must become a priority in our lives, if we want to have the right kind of life! Do you want the power of God on your life? Do you want close fellowship with the Lord? Do you desire to be used to the fullest of your potential? If so, then you must make prayer a priority!
How? Set aside a set time to pray and stick to it! Find you a place where there are no distractions. Get away from the phone, the TV, the computer and any other distractions and pour your heart out to the Lord. Prayer was a habit in our Lord’s life and it must become a habit in our lives, if we would have His power.
(Ill. Ray Steadman shares the following story: “On January 21, 1930, King George V of England was about to address the opening session of an international arms control conference in London. It was an event of intense interest around the world. The First World War had ended less than a decade and a half earlier, and the people of the world were anxious to prevent another world war. King George's speech was about to be carried around the globe by a relatively new technology called radio, but America almost didn't get to hear it.
Just minutes before the king of England stepped up to the microphones; a technician in the control room of the Columbia Broadcasting System tripped over a cable and severed the connection. The CBS control chief, a man named Harold Vidian, didn't even stop to think about what he was doing. He reached out, grasped the ends of the severed cable with his bare hands, and restored the circuit with his body.
Instantly Vidian was jolted by several hundred volts of electricity. He managed to hang on as King George's message was broadcast across the North American continent. Vidian survived--and the king's voice was heard.
That is an electrifying image of what our lives are to be like. We are the channels, the conductors of God's power. When we allow His power to course through us, then the voice of the King will be heard throughout the world.”[i]
I want that power! But, if I would have the power, then I must pray, but I must pray often, from a clean heart with pure motives. When we learn to pray like Jesus, God will bless our lives as He did His!)
D. Let me close with a few quick lessons regarding the necessity of prayer in our lives.
Despite the pressures that were piling up around Him, Jesus MADE time to talk to His Father. He was too busy no to pray, and so are we! We must never allow to business of life to crowd out the essential work of prayer.
If Jesus needed the Father’s help, how much more do we?
Like Jesus, we need to find a place where we can be alone with God. We should also know that our private time might be interrupted, v. 36. Often, legitimate business may get in the way of our private time, v. 37. When interruptions come, handle them with grace go with God into a new adventure, v. 38.
Nothing should ever be allowed to crowd out our private time with God. Neither time, tiredness, tardiness, treasure nor tasks are more important than our time with Him!
II. v. 36-38 JESUS POSSESSES A PASSION FOR PREACHING
A. As Jesus is praying, He is interrupted by Peter, Andrew, James and John. They come to tell Him that the people of Capernaum are looking for Him. Just the night before, the people of the city had crowded around the door looking for help and for healing. Now, at the dawn of a new day, they have returned.
This excites the disciples! They are sure that Jesus in on the verge of superstardom! They are certain that Jesus will be declaring Himself to be the Messiah and that He will begin gathering an army to deliver the nation of Israel from the domination of Rome.
They come to Jesus to encourage Him to capitalize on His enormous popularity. They want Him to come back to town and do some more miracles so that the people will cling to Him even more.
Jesus, however, refuses to allow the disciples or the people of Capernaum to dictate the direction of His ministry. He has been in communion with His Father and He knows what the Father wants Him to do.
Jesus reminds the disciples, v. 39, that the message is more important than the miracles. Jesus tells them that He is going to the towns where He has not yet preached so that He can share the Gospel with them too.
B. As they were in that day, miracles are still big business. It seems that any ministry that focuses on the fabulous will gather a huge following, while ministries that major on the message of the Bible will not do as well.
Why is that? People love their miracles! They love to hear about the sick being healed, the dead being raised and the stories of needs being met in miraculous ways. They love the miracles, but they don’t seem to have time to hear the message.
Most people are shallow, self-centered and focused on the sensational. Modern people are like the Athenians in Acts 17:21, “(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)”
C. There can be no doubt that Jesus had a ministry marked by the miraculous. He healed every known sickness; He raised the dead; He fed multitudes; walked on water; He even rose from the dead after He was buried. He can still heal today, if He chooses to. I have seen Him do that time and time again.
While Jesus can, did and does heal physical infirmities, He specializes in healing the afflictions of the soul. While we praise the Lord for every healing He has performed, healing of the body is temporary at best. But, when He heals a soul, it is for eternity!
Consider the promise of Psalm 103:3, “ who healeth all thy diseases. The diseases of the soul can kill just as surely as diseases of the flesh. Soul sicknesses like hatred, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, gossip, discouragement, depression, lust, pride, guilt, jealousy, fear, etc, can steal your joy, silence your shout and cripple your heart. Jesus can touch you in whatever ails your soul and He can give you absolute healing today! The Bible is the medicine chest that contains the prescription you need, Psa. 107:17-21.
The greatest need of the soul is to be cured of the sickness of sin. That is why Jesus placed so much emphasis on preaching the Gospel. He came to preach because He wanted the people to know that there was hope for them, if they would come to Him and receive the Gospel.
D. The Gospel of grace is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, Rom. 1:16. The preaching of the Gospel is also the method God has chosen to save the lost, 1 Cor. 1:21.
The message of the Gospel is very simple. Here it is: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, John 3:16. In have the good news of God’s plan of salvation. He gave His Son. His Son died on the cross. His Son rose from the dead. Now, God offers salvation to “whosoever will. If you need healing for the sickness of sin, Jesus is the antidote. Come to Him and be saved.
If you have allowed sin into your life as a believer and you know you are out of the Lord’s will today, you need to know that there is hope for you too! He will heal the affliction of your soul if you will come to Him in confession and repentance, 1 John 1:9.
III. v. 39 JESUS POSSESSES A PASSION FOR PEOPLE
A. Jesus and His disciples left Capernaum to go into the other towns of Galilee to share the Gospel message with them. Jesus was consumed with a passion to see people saved from their sins and brought into a relationship with the Father.
Jesus turned down the opportunity for fame because He wanted everyone to hear the message of hope. Jesus did not come to this world to be known as a miracle worker. He did not come primarily as a preacher and teacher. Jesus came to thins world to give His life “a ransom for many, Mark 10:45. Jesus came to this world to die.
B. Jesus came to this world and endured everything He did so that He might open a way of salvation for all who will receive Him. To accomplish this, Jesus made many sacrifices.
He took upon Himself human flesh Phil 2:5-8.
He lived a life of poverty Matt. 8:20; 2 Cor. 8:9.
He suffered rejection John 1:11; John 19:15.
He suffered pain - Scourged – Mark 15:15 (Ill. The Scorpion); Beaten – Matt. 27:27-35, John 19:2-5; Spit upon – Matt. 26:67, 27:30; Beard pulled out – Isa. 50:6; Crowned with thorns – Mark 15:17.
He was crucified Matt. 27:35.
He died John 19:30; Matt. 27:50.
He rose again Matt. 28:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:12-20.
C. Jesus did what He did because He loved people! He did what He did so that you and I might be saved from our sins. It was our Lord’s passion for people that prompted Him to enter this world, live the life He lived and die the death He died. He did what He did because He has a passion to see people saved, Rom. 5:6-8.
Jesus did not come into this world to be known as a healer, a teacher, or a miracle worker. He came into this world so that He might be known as A Savior. Not just a Savior, but as the only Savior, Acts 4:12; John14:6.
D. Here is the truth: Jesus came to this world and died because He has a passion for people. He loves people of every class, race and description. Jesus loves people in spite of their past, their potential, or their perversions. He has a passion to see people saved!
He has a passion for those trapped in the bondage of sin and the grip of Satan – Eph. 2:1-4.
He has a passion for those who are sin sick and unrighteous – Mark 2:17.
He has a passion for those who reject Him – Luke 13:34.
He has a passion for those everyone who does not know Him – John 6:37.
He has a passion for you – Rom. 10:9, 13.
Conc: Jesus was consumed with a passion to do the will of His Father. He was consumed with a passion to deliver people from the things that had them bound. Jesus was consumed with a passion for the people He met in His life and for people He never met physically. Jesus was consumed with a passion for you!
Has it ever dawned on you that Jesus Christ came to this world, lived as He did, and died as He did because He was consumed with a passion for you? Do you understand that Jesus went to the cross because He loved you? Do you understand that the Gospel message is a message for you?
Here is God’s invitation to you:
· If you have never been saved, I invite you to come to Jesus. He loves you and He will save you and deliver you from whatever it is that binds you today.
· If you are saved, but you are not where you need to be with the Lord, you need to come home. He will forgive you and He will restore you today.
· If your prayer life needs work, there is no better place to begin than with a time of prayer, asking God to help you today.
· If you have any need in your life at all, Jesus has a passion for you. He cares, 1 Pet. 5:7, Heb. 4:15, and He can help you, if you will bring your needs to Him.