Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who Could Be Opposed to Prayer?--Mark 1:35-45

The audio for this message will be better and more developed than the text. I dared to stray more often than usual! Some, I know will be proud of me :-)

I'll get the audio posted ASAP

Who Could Be Opposed to Prayer?

Very few people refuse prayer. Most people believe and practice some form of prayer—even without knowing who or what you’re praying to—many people will appreciate the concern and good will expressed in prayer. But not everyone appreciated Jesus and His efforts at prayer—often because He came back changed and empowered for great ministry.

Mark 1:35—39
1. Jesus Went Out to Pray and Came Back with Renewed Purpose--Changed and Charged

a. Left the house—sometimes special places are necessary
b. Solitary place—a place without interruption or distraction
c. How possible in the busy world? How possible with kids or other demands? Realize just how important and necessary our prayer life is—without it, we’re not hearing from God and you’ll have a hard time knowing what God would have you do.

d. Somewhere in His time of prayer, Jesus got the message that He had stayed in one place long enough. Jesus went out to pray and He came back with a greater Purpose.

e. Jesus Returned saying—let us go somewhere else. My ministry can no longer stay in this isolated, small pocket—there are many people who are hurting many people who are sick, many people affected by the Deceiver—I need to go to them—the nearby villages

f. So in this respect, Prayer broke the monotony, broke the stagnant, commonplace existence. If it feels like nothing is moving or happening in your life, if it feels like you’re staying in the same place all the time, then seek God’s direction and Purpose. Jesus went out in prayer and came back with a message to shake things up!

g. Time With God Gave Jesus Direction & Instruction—even Jesus sought time alone with God to seek His will, His Presence, His voice.

h. But the last thing those who were losing influence wanted was for Jesus to really be communing with God and receiving Purpose and power from Him.

i. Jesus Came Back with Renewed Purpose--Communion With God Gives or Reminds Us of Our Purpose

j. Let’s Go So I can preach there also—that is Why I Have Come

k. He didn’t just want to move for the sake of moving—He had something to do—to preach—the Good News of God’s Love—of Redemption & Repentance.

l. What’s amazing to me is what He doesn’t say-- as much as what He says. He didn’t say, I came to Heal. He didn’t say, I have come to drive our demons—No—Jesus says I have come to Preach—somehow or another, this sharing of the Good News to all was more important—had a greater eternal value, this preaching brought healing, brought deliverance and rescue from the demonic. Those things happened as a result of the courage and boldness of preaching the Good News and the Kingdom of God.

m. Who could be against this? We’ve already seen how the teachers of the law and the Pharisees are opposed to this teaching. And they would be opposed to Jesus gaining any more influence or popularity. By expanding His ministry area, Jesus would be drawing their ire. But not only because of the expansion, but how He went forward, and what He did.

2. Jesus Went Forward With Enhanced Power & Compassion--—vs. 40-45

a. As a Result—of leaving what had become His base, Jesus Saw God move, saw God’s hand at work. Sometimes you and I miss God’s Hand at work when we stay where it’s too comfortable, when we don’t break out explore new territory.

b. What Jesus found was more people hurting and in need of the healing touch of God. Jesus’ renewed purpose also came with Enhanced Power and Compassion.

c. Communion With God Enhances our Compassion—makes us think of others more than ourselves.. The Power of God is at work when we minister to those hurting and in need

d. You would think that helping someone like this man would draw praise—but let me assure you again, that this is not the case. Jesus touches someone no one else would—He crossed a line that the Pharisees and teachers of the law would not. They kept this man at a distance. He was an outcast until “he confessed his sin” and God restored him.

e. Jesus was not afraid of this man like these others were in their hypocrisy. They were not moved to compassion, they were moved to scorn. And the contrast between them couldn’t be more clear.

f. We have to check ourselves here—there are many conditions in which we hesitate and draw back— we often want people to get their lives together first, to get themselves clean and sober before we really welcome them into church with all of their disruptions and problems.

g. We’ll ask people how they are doing—but we want to hear “I’m fine” more than, I’m really struggling today. We’ll pray for those who’s marriages are struggling or who are dealing with alcohol addictions but we don’t want to really get involved. Do we really want to cross a line and help someone with AIDS?

h. Jesus did not fear crossing social barriers to reach the lost, the hurting, the outcast. He even touched this man—something that may not have happened for years. In this ministry—after receiving a refreshing Power and Compassion from His time in Prayer, Jesus touched this man and healed him.

i. Immediately—the leprosy left him.

j. Not only did Jesus touch someone who shouldn’t be touched, but He did something they themselves had been unable to do—heal this disease.

k. And notice, that the people he wants to know about it are not the masses, but the priests. Do everything right as the Law commands “as a testimony to them.”

l. In Mark, this is the first person sent out with the Good News. He had called Peter and some others, but they had not been sent out yet. Jesus sends this man to the Priests—to be a witness—to the ones who may be the most opposed to Him. He wanted the priests to see and confirm the healing so the man could re-enter the community of faith—kind of like going back to the doctor for a 2nd opinion or test. But the intention was also so they may believe and bear testimony to the power of God—they have an even bigger platform from which to proclaim—if the priests and Levites got on board with what Jesus was doing, then more of Israel could be saved. Those who were supposed to be closest to God—also needed to hear the Good News.

m. Those of us who are familiar with God, those of us who think we’ve got God figured out—we need to be reached—we still need to see God at work—see His power touch someone’s life—if we don’t we will become stagnant, stale and powerless. We won’t really be able to help those in need—those who are struggling and in need of a touch from God.

n. You and I need to be reminded of how Good God is—how we draw our purpose and our power, even our compassion from our Time with Him in prayer.

o. Word spread--The man goes out and spreads the word so much that it disrupted Jesus’ ability to effectively minister in town—but those most involved in the church were not reached with this Healing.

p. The man’s healing is marred by the word, “instead”. Instead of following Jesus’ directive to show himself to the priest, the man tells everyone else. Jesus had intentionally, I believe, wanted this man to testify to the religious leaders so they would have a better opportunity to believe themselves. Now, God still spread the word, still accomplished good from the disobedience (an encouraging thought) but perhaps the real opportunity was lost. I pray that our lives and our walk with Christ cannot be marked by the word, “Instead”.

q. You and I need a Greater sense of our Purpose—but also a Greater Power and Compassion—it will come when we truly pray for one another—when we leave our cloistered faith and take it out to those who need to hear the Good News.

r. Only when we do that will see more of God at work in our lives.

s. And if you are here today, needing a touch from God—in need of healing—know that it won’t happen without coming to Him. This man “came to [Jesus]”, sought Him out and received the blessing of Jesus’ touch.

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