35 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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. Mark 1:35-39

The disciples were in for a rough ride! They were called to follow a most unusual man. Whoever went out before dawn to seek solitude to pray? Those who took prayer seriously went to the synagogue or prayed the written prayers of the Bible or the prescribed prayers of their religious system, but to go out into the night alone?

They also didn’t understand that Jesus wanted to be alone. They intruded on His private prayer time because people were clamouring after Him. His response was lovely. He was unfazed by this burst of popularity. What the people thought or said about him was irrelevant. His heart was set on His mission. He was here on kingdom business. He focussed on telling and showing people that they were immersed in God and that He was a good God, not anything like what their religious leaders taught and represented; a loving, kind and merciful God who cared about them and wanted to restore their lives to wholeness – shalom. It was a message for everyone, not just for those in Capernaum. He had to tell the good news everywhere and He had a limited time in which to do it because there were those who hated what He was doing and would eventually have Him killed for doing it.

If we were to track Jesus’ path, we would find that He criss-crossed the whole of Israel and beyond in three and a half years. Is it possible that He visited every town and village in the land? He was not caught up in people’s need to the extent that He lost sight of the bigger picture – hence the many hours He spent in prayer with the Father. He was lining up His “flute” with the “wind” so that God could play His “tune” through Him.

An imitator of Jesus, then, is someone who sees what He sees and copies what He does, not in a mindless but in a purposeful way to achieve the same result – ECHAD with God.

Luella Campbell

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