Summary: Jesus' ministry was a powerful ministry. It was powerful in three things: Prayer, Priorities and Preaching.
Now in the morning, having risen a long while (exceedingly, beyond measure; Aorist Act Participle) before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place (remote, desolate, uninhabited); and there He prayed.
And Simon and those who were with Him searched (to hunt Him down) for Him. When they found (eurisko) Him, they said to Him, "Everyone is looking (to crave, demand something from someone) for You." But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach (Kerusso) there also, because for this purpose I have come forth." And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons. Mark 1:35-39
Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep (to hold back, to hold fast, to detain) Him from leaving them; but He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent." And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee. Luke 4:42-44
A Powerful Ministry
So now we move from last week’s message regarding an impressionable ministry to a powerful ministry.
Introduction – The Unbaptized Arm
Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.
However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.
The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.
The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan’s response, "I will do it!"
So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.
He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.