The Priority and Power of Prayer
I. Jesus Prayer Life (vv. 35-39)
1) Priority of Prayer
- Jesus was likely exhausted from the previous evening of ministry (vv. 29-32)
- In spite of His busy schedule, Jesus begins the new day in prayer with His Father!
- He understood the priority of prayer!
- Peter wrongly thought that ministry activity was the priority – subtle rebuke directed toward Jesus in v. 23
- Jesus knew the importance of speaking to God about men, before we speak to men about God
- Jesus’ prayer life was more than a model for us– it was essential to His ministry
2) Place of Prayer
- Jesus retreated to a ‘desolate place’ away from the crowds – continuation of the wilderness theme that permeates chapter 1 of Mark
- Perhaps this indicates a fight with temptation – the temptation of worldly ‘success’??
- Jesus’ response to Peter in v. 38 reveals His motive for ministry
- Jesus’ was concerned with the spread of the gospel, not with the accolades of worldly ‘success’ and popularity
Application: “If He who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, thus prayed continually, how much more ought we who are compassed with infirmity?” – J.C. Ryle
-What does your prayer life indicate about your priorities? Are you depending on God or on self?
II. Jesus’ Power to Heal (vv. 40-45)
1) The Problem
- Leprosy was a terrible disease which was very common during Jesus day (Luke 4:27)
- A stark picture of sin and its consequences in our lives
- Sin disfigures and defiles us
- Sin isolates us from God and from others
- Sin renders us spiritually ‘dead’ even as we continue to live
2) The Plea
- This man knows he is in a helpless situation
- He believes that Jesus is able to heal him
- He isn’t sure whether Jesus is willing to help
Application: Jesus is always willing to cleanse those who will call out to him for mercy and grace!
“Blessed indeed is he who has learned that he is a spiritual leper… To know our disease is one step toward the cure.” – J.C. Ryle
3) The Provision
- Jesus is moved with human emotion
- Compassion for the man Himself
- Anger about the effects of sin on Creation
- Jesus touches him
- A shocking violation of the ceremonial law
- Normally touching leads to defilement, but in this case touching leads to cleansing!
4) The Prohibition
- Jesus commands the man to be silent – a recurring theme: ‘Messianic Secret’
- Jesus didn’t want people following Him for the wrong reason
Application: “Jesus told the leper to be quiet and yet he told everybody. Jesus commands us to tell everybody and we keep quiet.” – W. Wiersbe