Summary: The pressure of the crowd must never be allowed to take precedence over a right relationship with God.

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Mark 1:29-39

1. The first Deacon (Mark 1:29-31)

After the synagogue service in Capernaum, Jesus and His four companions went to the home of Simon and Andrew (Mark 1:29). Was this the first after-church fellowship - or perhaps even the formation of the first spontaneous house-church of the new era? Jesus would later promise that where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).

Having conducted an exorcism in the synagogue (cf. Mark 1:25-26), Jesus now confronted the fever that had taken hold of Simon’s mother-in-law, which was making her sick (Mark 1:30). No stern words here, but just a gentle lifting up by the hand (Mark 1:31). “Immediately” (one of Mark’s favourite words, giving his whole narrative momentum) the fever left her.

Simon’s mother-in-law got up (healed) from her sick-bed, and served (ministered - see Mark 10:45). In this, she was the first ‘deacon’ of the fledgling church (Mark 1:31).

# By way of contrast, those whom Jesus named ‘apostles’ (Luke 6:13) would later argue about ‘who was the greatest’ (Mark 9:33-34).

2. The people at the door (Mark 1:32-34)

As the sun set, the Sabbath drew to a close, and a crowd gathered around the door of the house where Jesus was to be found (Mark 1:32-33). Having no doubt seen or heard about what had happened in the synagogue, they brought to Him other sick folks. Jesus healed them, and conducted more exorcisms (Mark 1:34). As before, Jesus would not permit the demons to speak, or to identify Him prematurely (cf. Mark 1:24-25).

3. The place of prayer in Jesus’ ministry (Mark 1:35-37)

It is quite exhausting to preach and to teach, and then to minister well into the night to address people’s individual needs. However, this does not mean that Jesus treated the next day as an opportunity to have a long lie. Instead, He got up early in the morning - perhaps anticipating the interruption - found a solitary place, and there prayed (Mark 1:35).

# If Jesus felt the need to nurture communion with His Father, how much more should we?

Yet Jesus was not allowed to enjoy His solitude for long. Simon and those with him had their own idea about what Jesus should be doing, and pursued Him (Mark 1:36). Men’s agendas, however well-meant, do not always coincide with what God wants. Apparently “everyone” (the whole world?) was now seeking after Jesus (Mark 1:37)!

# The pressure of the crowd must never be allowed to take precedence over a right relationship with God.

4. Mobilising mission (Mark 1:38-39)

Jesus had already shown His concern for someone within the synagogue (cf. Mark 1:25-26), someone in the house (Mark 1:31), and for the crowds who gathered around the door (Mark 1:32-34). However, the preaching and teaching, healing and exorcisms must now continue in the towns beyond Capernaum, and throughout Galilee (Mark 1:39). It was for this that Jesus came (Mark 1:38).

We must never become so parochial that we only minister to our own, without a care for the perishing millions beyond our doors, or the doors of our church or denomination. Jesus told His disciples that the fields are already white to harvest (John 4:35), and calls upon us all to pray that the Lord will send forth labourers into His ripe harvest field (Luke 10:2).

# The example of Isaiah, as well, informs us of the need to be willing to play our part in answering our own prayers (Isaiah 6:8).

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