Who has never been under pressure? I was joking with a friend of mine yesterday that we have become too busy and it is not good. Have you realized it’s never easy even to get time to plan for a social meeting. We are always on the run, especially us living in the cities. A typical day for an average young person is activity packed. From bed to work, and meetings in between, (not to mention time spent sitting in traffic jams) from work to evening classes from evening classes to home, then you realize you don’t have enough time to have dinner and you still have assignments to do, or maybe you carried extra work home. Then weekends- they are proving busier than weekdays.
Ever felt like you are just going to break? I have walked that road several times. That led me to consider a typical day for Christ, in the book of Mark. Just a little background, the book of Mark records Jesus’ activity- what Jesus did. As you read through the book, the words immediately, straightway, right away, forthwith, anon are used so often, to signify fast movement through his disinterested acts of service. This is especially the case in Mark Chapter 1. We can all learn from Christ on how he handled pressure.
Let’s turn to Mark Chapter 1 as we look at Jesus’ typical schedule.
- Vs 9- Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan
- Vs 10- Immediately He is anointed by the Holy Spirit
- Vs 11- Immediately He is led to the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. He is there tempted for 40 days. Comparing with other gospels, he is fasting all 40 days, so he grows weary
- Vs 14- After that- Reading in context, this is after the 40 days in the wilderness, or at least that is when the news of John’s imprisonment got to Christ. He hears of the news.
This is the point where many would say ok, I have been going through bad times lately, and I need just to rest- After my ordination, I was led into the wilderness, 40 days, no food. Then now, I hear John my best friend and cousin is in prison, Galilee can wait. What does Jesus do? He proceeds to Galilee.
- Then in Vs 16-20. He is walking by the sea of Galilee, he calls Simon, Andrew, James and John. They all straightaway follow Christ. This must have been a Friday, because the next thing we are told in Vs 21 is straightaway on the Sabbath, He was teaching in the synagogue.
Now consider Christ’s day at church
- Vs 23- 24After or during the sermon, he heals a man with an unclean spirit.
- Vs 29-30 Forthwith they came out of the synagogue, probably at lunch break, and went to Simon’s house, maybe for lunch I guess. There He heals his mother in law.
- Vs 32- At evening, Saturday evening after the Sabbath, just stepping out of the synagogue, ALL the city is waiting for Christ. ALL the city? After such a long day? By the way among these were people demon possessed, there must have been a lot of commotion. Who wants to run into a mob of rowdy people after a long day of services at church? He may have taken quite some time. Since the parallel account in Luke 4:41 says he healed them by laying hands on them. Can you imagine laying hands on all the sick people brought from all parts of the city? No easy job. It took some time into the night.
This is where after such a long day you just want to switch off your phone, sign out of all social media and just sleep, but not so with Christ.
- Verses 35-37. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day (before it was fully light,) He departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
- Jesus had not only had a long day, or busy week, the next day (Sunday) was going to be even busier. He was going to appoint the 12 disciples and preach his longest sermon- the Sermon on the Mount. What did he do to handle all this pressure and what can we learn from Christ?
- Here observe,
(1.) That the Saviour, though perfectly holy, regarded the duty of secret prayer as of great importance.
(2.) That he sought a solitary place for it–far away from the world, and even his disciples.
(3.) That it was early in the morning–the first thing after rising– always the best time, and a time when it should not be omitted.
(4.) If Jesus prayed, how much more important is it for us! If he did it in the morning, how much more important is it for us, before the world gets possession of our thoughts; before Satan fills us with unholy feelings; when we rise fresh from beds of repose, and while the world around us is still! David also thus prayed, Ps 5:3. He that wishes to enjoy religion will seek a place of secret prayer in the morning. If that is omitted, all will go wrong. Our piety will wither. The world will fill our thoughts. Temptations will be strong. And through the day we shall find it impossible to raise our feelings to a state of proper devotion. This will be found to be true, universally, that the religious enjoyment through the day will be according to the state of the heart in the morning; and can, therefore be measured by our faithfulness in early secret prayer, how different, too, was the conduct of the Saviour from those who spend the precious hours of the morning in sleep! He knew the value of the morning hours; he rose while the world was still; he saw when the light spread abroad in the east with fresh tokens of his Father’s presence, and joined with the universal creation in offering praise to the everywhere present God.
Here is the lesson for us: Jesus had a busy schedule, but he did not let activity crowd his devotion. We need to learn to seek him early. The busier you think your day is going to be, the more hours you need to spend in prayer and study of the Word. Wake up early. A great while before day and seek the Lord.