Scripture Reading: Mark 1:29-39
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
After a string of miracles that Jesus performed in the town of Capernaum, his reputation as a healer and deliverer spread far and wide, and people landed at his doorstep, bringing all their sick and demon-possessed to him. He healed and delivered many. The following day, more people landed at his doorstep, but Jesus had disappeared. Peter went in search of Jesus, and when he finally located him, he said, "Everyone is looking for you!" The unsaid words were, "There is work to be done? Why did you disappear?" In response, Jesus said, "Let us go somewhere else so I can preach there also. That is why I have come!"
Jesus had come to preach the good news. And although he would heal the sick and deliver the possessed when the occasion arose, that was not his primary mission. His primary mission was the salvation of souls. Like Peter, we too can sometimes get confused about what Jesus is really about, so we must understand what is important. We need to engage in works of mercy — feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, etcetera, etcetera. However, the bodies will perish, but the souls will live eternally, and we need to be more concerned about the latter.
Likewise, the church needs administration, but not at the expense of preaching the word. In Acts 6, we find that the church was facing a practical problem. The number of disciples was increasing, and people had begun complaining that they were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. The apostles were doing this! So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Let us choose others to do this. We will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
Consequently, they chose seven men, described as being "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." Although these men began to act as waiters, they also preached the good news because this was especially important. And Scripture says, because of this, "the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7). We need to get our priorities right, and that will happen only if, like Jesus, we understand our primary purpose.
It is preaching the good news.
Today's devotional — The Main Purpose — is based on Mark 1:29-39, the gospel reading for the day. The reflection is by Aneel Aranha, founder of Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI). Follow him on Facebook: fb.com/aneelaranha