Jesus launches his first crusade

TEXT: Mark 1:35-39

After Jesus heals Simon's mother-in-law, and a host of sick and demon-possessed people who showed up at Simon's front door in Capernaum, he now readies to launch a crusade that will take him and the disciples through all the towns of Galilee (REFERENCE: Mark 1:38).

We now look at the events surrounding that first crusade.

EARLY RISER

It is unknown if it was His usual custom, but we see in Mark 1:35 that Jesus got up well before dawn and went out to pray alone. There were many things ahead of him in His coming crusade, but also many other things that would follow after that.

Jesus began praying while the Earth was dark, and ended His prayers when the Earth was in the light of a new day.

Christians who desperately need something from God ought also to pray until the Light comes. Even if that prayer began "a great while before day" (Mark 1:35), Christians sh

ould press on until they see daylight, believing that God is the answer to that need and that He rewards those who, in faith, diligently seek Him (REFERENCE: Hebrews 11:6).

ALL MEN SEEK HIM

Jesus teaching in the Temple

Jesus' disciples apparently awoke and saw He was missing from their lives, and started to search for Him (verse 36) when people from the city showed up again at Simon's home.

When the disciples found Him, they said, "All men seek for thee" (verses 37) – a fact which is still true today, and a fact that would be brought home to  the disciples after their Master was risen from the grave and they began their own "crusades" to fulfill Christ's Great Commission (REFERENCE: Matthew 28:19).

All men still seek a Savior today, even if they don't know it. God has created each one of us with a place in our heart for Him, and many have tried to fill it with sex, drugs and even religion. But only the Savior will fit into that place in the heart.

At Simon's home, the residents of Capernaum believed that their problem was either their disease or their demon, but their real need was Jesus. Not only that, but their afflictions drove them to seek out Jesus. In so doing, disease and demons thereby acknowledged Jesus' authority over them.

THE 'NEXT TOWNS'

Jesus tells His disciples when they find Him, "Let us go unto the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth" (verse 38).

Jesus was no longer thinking about the works He had performed in Capernaum. Instead, His vision was on the next towns (note the plural, "towns"), with the ultimate goal of reaching every city in the Galilee region.

What was His mission in those towns? To bring the Light of His presence, preach the word of God in their synagogues, and to reach those who were lost, which included, when needed, casting out devils or diseases (verse 39).

More broadly, His mission was to evangelize all of Israel, and for His disciples to evangelize the world, a commission which today's disciples are still fulfilling and which, with today's communications at an advanced state, now covers more ground more rapidly.

In that commission, Christians always focus on "the next towns", until the day and hour that the last person in the last town hears the Gospel and is given the choice of either accepting Jesus or suffering forever from the consequences of sin in a Hell prepared – not for man, but for Satan and his fallen angels (REFERENCE: Luke 13:31 and Matthew 25:41).

CRUSADE IN A NUTSHELL

As usual, we see Mark using a short summary to describe an event in Jesus' life.

He summarizes an entire crusade in one sentence, as we see in Mark 1:39: "And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee and cast out devils."

But then Mark turns around and uses six verses to describe a single incident that happened before Jesus returned to home base in Capernaum (Mark 1:40-45). For more about that, click here to see the section, "Jesus cleanses a leper."

You can read a full discussion of that event by clicking here to go to "Jesus cleanses a leper."