Meeting Life's Demands
A daily devotion for January 3rd
16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18At once they left their nets and followed him.
19When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24"What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"
25"Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" 26The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." 28News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
29As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. 31So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and 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.
35Very 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. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
38Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." 39So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
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 (Mark 1:35).
After this full day—and what a full day it was, what a heavy ministry our Lord had that day with all the healing He did in the evening!—Mark records that early in the morning, before it was daylight, Jesus went out on the mountainside, and there, by Himself, He prayed. But even there He was not safe. His disciples interrupted this communion, told Him that everyone was looking for Him. And Jesus reveals the heart and substance of His prayer in what He says in reply:
Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. This is what He was praying about—that God would lead Him, doors would be opened, and hearts prepared in the cities to which He would go next.
Why did Jesus seek the Father's face like this, in these hours of pressure? The only answer we can come to is that He wants to make clear that the authority He had was not coming from Him. This is what our Lord is trying to get across to us so continually in the Scriptures—that it was not His authority by which He acted; He had to receive it from the Father.
I do not know any more confusing doctrine in Christendom today—one that has robbed the Scriptures of their authority and power in the minds and hearts of countless people—than the idea that Jesus acted by virtue of the fact that He was the Son of God, that the authority and power He demonstrated were due to His own deity. Yet He Himself takes great pains to tell us this is not the case.
The Son can do nothing by himself (John 5:19). Why do we ignore His explanation and insist that it is He, acting as the Son of God? He tells us that
it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work(John 14:10). And all the power that Jesus manifested had to come to Him constantly from the one who dwelt within Him.
Jesus stresses this because this is what He wants us to learn. We are to operate on the same basis. Our response to the normal, ordinary demands of life and the power to cope with those demands must come from our reliance upon Him at work within us. This is the secret: All power to live the Christian life comes not from us, doing our dead-level best to serve God, but from Him, granted to us moment by moment as the demand is made upon us. Power is given to those who follow, who obey. The Father is at work in the Son; the Son is at work in us. As we learn this, then we are given power to meet the demands and the needs that are waiting for us in the ministry yet to come.
Thank You, Father, that the same power is available to me today, making me ready to be your instrument in any and every situation in which demand is laid upon me.
Life Application: What is the source of authority and power we need to respond to the ordinary and extraordinary demands of life? Shall we try to wing it, or expectantly pray for this gift?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.