Seeking Rhythms of Renewal and Responding to the Immediate

As mentioned in my last post, I want us to take a moment to look at Jesus, our great high priest, and some patterns we see for how he lived his human life, specifically as explained in the book of Mark.

This week, we’ll begin by digging into what we can observe about Jesus from a few verses at the beginning of Mark, before we continue next week with a broader, sweeping glance into the rest of the gospel. However, before we dig into today’s verses, I want to point out one word that is recurring in the gospel of Mark.

Immediately.

This word is used over 40 times in the gospel of Mark alone. It communicates urgency and action and movement, and points to how perfectly Jesus responded to and did the work he was called to do while on earth.

Maybe in a different sense, do you sometimes feel like your days are urgent and filled with action and movement? If I’m honest, this isn’t always because I’m quick to obey and be faithful, but more that there is plenty of action around me that demands a response from me immediately.

Can you relate?

Let’s keep this idea in mind as we read our main verses for today and draw some observations from it. Understanding that Jesus’ days were filled with “immediate” moments, let’s consider this.

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35, ESV).

What can we observe in this verse about our great high priest who sympathizes with us, and whose days were characterized by moments where he responded immediately in obedience and faithfulness?

We see Jesus’ resolve to have fellowship with His Father.

This verse contains four action verbs (rising, departed, went, prayed), which show Jesus’ determination to have this time of fellowship with God the Father. Our incarnate King took time to make this a priority despite the fact that he was tired. He wasn’t just sitting around all day. He was fully human as well as fully God, and he knew this was something he needed and wanted to do. So he made it happen.

Let’s continue reading in Mark 1:36-37 for our next observation: “And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” Our second observation shows the response of those around Jesus.

Those closest to Jesus seem to misunderstand why Jesus went away to pray, and immediately want him to begin fulfilling the needs of others.

As mothers, we have our first disciples in our children, and our little disciples tend to be similar in a lot of ways to the disciples. Think about it. The disciples, on various occasions, could be described as needy, argumentative, whiny, misunderstanding, confused, doubting and selfish. And the masses beyond Jesus’ closest followers likewise were often trying to cling to Jesus, constantly touching his clothes, seeking for Jesus to heal them, feed them, provide a miracle for them.

Have your days ever felt like that?

Again, Jesus is our high priest who sympathizes with us.

There’s a good chance that our children will come find us when we are intentional to seek out these rhythms of renewal. And they may not (probably won’t for a while) understand what we are doing, and that’s simply a part of discipleship. It doesn’t mean we neglect it because those around us may interrupt or may not understand the value of it.

Let’s keep reading.

And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons (Mark 1:38-39).

Jesus responds to the seemingly interruptive with obedience and faithfulness. “Let us go.”

After Jesus spent time with God, he continued his mission.

When our time of renewal comes to an end, we again follow Jesus’ example…we continue our mission. Rather than respond to interruptions with annoyance or bitterness or resistance, we instead see our little interruptions as the working out of the faith we chose to cultivate when we went away to pray and be with the Lord.

The best news is that God is with us in both places…in the early, quiet moments when we are alone with him, as well as in the daily seemingly interruptive moments.

And those interruptions are what we will address next week as we take a broader sweep through the book of Mark to see how Jesus chooses to walk obediently and faithfully, and some application for practical ways we can follow his example in action and attitude.

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