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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Mark 1:35-39 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with Him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, All men seek for thee. And He said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And He preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. (See Matt. 4:23-25; Luke 4:42-44)

According to the gospel of Christ, as it was recorded by Mark, Jesus had just driven the unclean spirit from the man possessed by this demon, had healed Peter's wife's mother from a great fever, and had healed many that were brought to Him having demon possessions and various diseases and bodily malformations. Now both Mark and Luke, by inspiration, wrote that on the following morning after these events, Jesus went out, and departed unto a solitary place, and Mark continues to say, and there prayed. We may ask ourselves this question: why did Jesus have to pray? The answer is obvious: as the perfect, holy Son of God, prayer, for himself, was not necessary. However, He is giving His followers of all ages a divine example. Just as Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven, so our personal prayers to this same Heavenly Father, especially those offered in solitude, are of great importance to all Christians. We need to pray in a private setting that will be free from things that tend to preoccupy our minds. With minds that are clear, our thoughts will be uncluttered by worldly cares, and we can pour our hearts out to God with thanksgiving, intervention for the needs of others, and asking Him for wisdom to guide every aspect of our lives. Without prayer, worldly matters will consume our thoughts, God and the cause of Christ will vanish from our minds, our spiritual lives will wane, and our souls will be in jeopardy of eternal punishment. For your example of seeking solitary places for prayers to our God in Heaven, we thank you Lord Jesus.

After Jesus had sought out a solitary place to pray, Mark continues by saying that Simon and they that were with him followed after Him. And when they had found Him, they said unto Him, All men seek for Thee. Luke assures that, not only His chosen disciples followed Him, but also many others had joined in, heard His teaching, witnessed the miracles He performed, and became His followers. Luke tells us that many people sought Him, and came unto Him, and stayed Him, that He should not depart from them (Luke 4:42). Other than these four disciples, there were many others that were totally committed to His discipleship. They desired that He stay in their community with them, and not depart from them.

Answering their request to stay among these townspeople, Jesus told them that He desired to continue His journey into the next towns in Galilee, probably in the vicinity of Capernaum, so He could preach there also. It is evident that Jesus' mission on earth was to preach the gospel of salvation to the Jewish people as far as possible throughout the their nation, and not to confine Himself and His message to a few. Mark assures us of this when he continued this passage by saying, for therefore came I forth. Luke says that Jesus must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent (Luke 4:43). The apostle John, in his inspired gospel message, tells us that the reason He came forth from the Father, was to come into the world (John 16:28) - the whole world was to benefit from Jesus' mission on earth.

The lesson text continues to say that Jesus preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. Matthew's account of this event is even more detailed. He wrote that Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people (Matt. 4:23). It was in their synagogues that many Jews gathered, and it was there that Jesus went to preach the gospel of the kingdom in order to reach as many of His Jewish brethren as He possibly could. And His preaching was confirmed as coming from God by the miraculous healing among the people. The result was that His fame, not only spread in all provinces of the Jewish nation, but He became known throughout all Syria. Because He was known throughout this area as a preacher and healer of God, those with diseases and torments, those possessed with devils, those with various forms of epilepsy noted here as a lunatick, and those having palsy, were all brought to Him and He healed them. And there followed Him great multitudes (See Matt. 4:24-25).