Read Mark 1

Highlights:

The King who rules by serving others and loving the unlovable. Jesus teaches, heals, and reveals His power over evil spirits. Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). Invitation to be united with God and a fisher of men (1:17; 3:31-35).

The Gospel of Mark depicts in glowing words the relentless activity of Jesus: All the city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many that were sick. . . . And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed (Mark 1:33-35). Jesus . . . went about doing good (Acts 10:38) among men, removing their sorrows and imparting new hope into their burdened hearts. We also observe the private life of Jesus in solitary communion with His Father, lifting up His eyes unto heaven from whence came His daily inspiration and power.

In spite of a long, difficult day and only a few hours to sleep, the Savior selected the morning, a great while before day, to pray. Some time later, it's recorded: He had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God (Mark 3:10-11).

Prayer and the ministry of Christ were always closely intertwined. There are some who think they may be excused from prayer in order to work because they are so busy. There are others who think that God will be pleased with prayer in lieu of work, but the example of Christ rebukes all such inconsistency. It is in combination with prayer and work that we receive the Lord's blessing.

In His great works, our Lord often began with prayer. Eighteen times our Lord's own prayers were spoken of in the Gospels, emphasizing His complete submission to the Father's will.

The great need among Christians today is to set aside time every day to read the Bible and pray. We need times of separation from all activities, even from doing things for the Lord, just to be alone with the Father. If our prayer life and service to God are to be effective, this may require the sacrifice of sleep, business, hobbies, and friends. In doing this, our experience of Christ's presence will become more real, and eventually our whole life will be radically changed. We are told: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Tim. 2:15).

Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth (John 17:17).

Thought for Today:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . That He would grant you . . . to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:14,16).

Cross References:

For Mark 1:2: See Mal. 3:1. Mark 1:3: See Is. 40:3. Mark 1:11: See Ps. 2:7.

Word Studies:

1:7 latchet leather strap similar to a shoelace; 1:26 torn him thrown him into convulsions; 1:43 straitly charged sternly warned; 1:45 blaze abroad take known everywhere; every quarter everywhere; 2:1 it was noised the news spread.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by A Family That Loves Jesus • Staff: Chris Robison • Government Officials: Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA) and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO) • Country: Botswana (1.5 million) in southern Africa • Major languages: English and Setswana • Limited religious freedom because of local chiefs • 58% Christian; 40% Indigenous; .8% Baha'i; .2% Muslim; .2% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for understanding of the Word of God so you can share it with others (Ps. 119:27).

Memory Verse for the Week:

Matthew 7:2