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20: Looking for Jesus

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Mark 1:35-45

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 4:23-25       Mark 1:35-39         Luke 4:42-44
Matt. 8:2-4           Mark 1:40-45         Luke 5:12-16

Outline:

  1. Jesus is Found Praying                 Mark 1:35-37
  2. Jesus is Found Ministering           Mark 1:38-39
  3. Jesus is Found Healing                Mark 1:40-45

Context/Discussion/Comments:

There are two major themes that come to mind as we read this scripture.  They are:

  1. Seek Him and you will find Him.
  2. Prayer is the backbone of ministry.

Jesus gets up early to find a solitary place to pray.  One wonders if this happens just after His very busy Sabbath Day in Capernaum discussed in Lesson 19.  The disciples are concerned as are all the town folk.  Where is Jesus?  So they begin to look for Him.  They find Him praying and He tells them it is time to expand His ministry to the surrounding communities.  He goes, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons; the same as He has done in Capernaum.

A leper approaches Jesus and expresses his faith in Jesus by saying “If it is His will, He can heal him”.  The leper was cured immediately and asked to go to the priests and offer a sacrifice for cleansing.  This act would validate the man’s healing from leprosy according to the Law.  Instead the man becomes a boisterous witness of Jesus’ miraculous power, making it impossible for Jesus to teach among the people.  Instead of staying among the people, Jesus is forced into the country to find time to be alone.  But the people still sought Him out.

Jesus’ ministry of casting out demons is greater than I had ever imagined.  The mere presence of Jesus confronted the evil spirits.  His teaching and the casting out of demons seem to converge at the same time and place.  His presence was required.

Who are the demon-possessed? Do they exist today? How are they defined? I would define the demon-possessed as:

  1. People who discerned immediately who Jesus was. They identified themselves as soon as they entered into the presence of Jesus.
  2. People who are mentally unbalanced, subject to seizures, possess great physical strength, uncontrolled actions, and outside the norm in personal behavior.

People we know of today with these characteristics are classified as mentally ill and/or suffering addictions.  The mentally ill or those having addictions are not all demon-possessed. But some small percentage would definitely fall into this category when considering the above definition.

The “demon-possessed” phenomenon is acknowledged more by Catholics than Protestants. The Catholics practice exorcism. The Protestants are in denial.

Jesus indwells the believer so today a demon-possessed person would be one who shuns/runs from the presence of a Christian or a person who would throw a fit, go into a seizure, show forth great strength, and acknowledge the presence of Jesus Christ when in the presence of or confronted by a Christian.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Find a place to be alone to pray so you can hear God’s directions.
  2. If you are truly following Jesus, don’t let Him get out of your sight.
  3. Don’t limit your God-given ministry to one location. Be willing to travel where He leads you.
  4. People who seek Him and place their faith in Him are healed. Sometimes the healing is immediate and sometimes we must wait for heaven.
  5. Follow His instructions in a responsible manner. The credibility of the miracle should override the emotion of the moment.
  6. Question…..If people were looking for you, what would they find you doing? Would they find you in a ministering mode?  A ministering attitude? No matter what the circumstance, we are not to ignore those who are truly seeking to know Jesus.

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