Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mark 1:35–39

Mark 1:35–39 (ESV): Jesus prays


The ESV title for this section is “Jesus Preaches in Galilee,” but to me that’s only a postscript to the main action in this passage. (Not that I claim to have the insight that the ESV translators/editors had, but still, it’s my blog.)

In the last passage Jesus had healed many people and driven out demons. This passage begins the next morning, where we find Jesus waking up very early in the morning to go to a private place and pray. Simon and some others go searching for Jesus because everyone is looking for him, and Jesus tells them that they are going to go to the nearby towns to preach, since that is why Jesus “came out” (verse 38 (ESV)).

So Jesus (and, presumably, the disciples) go throughout Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.


For me, the main point I take away from this passage is this: when Jesus was here on earth, he prayed. And he didn’t just pray from time to time; we find Jesus praying a lot in the Gospels, and he often goes off to a solitary place, as he does in this passage, so that he can pray without being disturbed. (Sometimes he gets disturbed anyway, and he deals with that, but his intent is always to find a way of being able to devote himself to his prayer.)

If Jesus, who is God, spent so much time in prayer, and took prayer so seriously, then how can we, who are ordinary sinful humans, not consider prayer of utmost importance? Part of the problem, of course, is that of our sinful nature. We often don’t want to be in communion with God, because we feel the guilt of our sin when faced with Him. But, as we all know, that’s precisely when we should be going to Him in prayer.

In verse 38 Jesus says that preaching is why he “came out.” I’m not sure what is meant by that wording—“came out”—but it’s translated differently in different versions.

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.” (verse 38 (ESV))
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (verse 38 (NIV))
He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” (verse 38 (NASB))
The intent seems to simply be this is why Jesus came, full stop. The ESV wording, of came out, I’m not sure about, and my quick look in a couple of study bibles didn’t turn anything up. The ESV footnotes don’t have any detail about the wording either. So… I’m not going to worry about it.

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