Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
In the last section (1-20) in Mark chapter 1, Jesus had been driven to the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan. He was there 40 days. He had just left the wilderness. Now, after a very busy day or two. We find Jesus heading back out to a desolate place.
Desolate: a wilderness
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus returned to the wilderness? Have you ever been in a wilderness season of life? It is full of dry, lonely, and solitary moments. It certainly wouldn’t be on the list of things to do again. And yet we find here, Jesus, returning.
While reading this section, I noticed a word that repeats 4 -5 times. It is the word: Immediately – which means straightway. This means “without intervening time or space, directly, without delay.”
- Immediately Jesus entered the synagogue to teach and people were astonished because he taught with authority, not like the scribes did.
- Immediately there was a man with an unclean spirit at the synagogue yelled, “I know who you are – the Holy One of God.” Jesus rebuked him and told him to, “be silent, and come out of him!”
- Immediately he left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house whose mother in law was sick with fever.
- Immediately they told him about her and Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up, the fever left and she began to serve them.
That evening the people brought all who were sick and oppressed by demons to him. The whole city was at the door. He healed many who were sick with disease and cast out many demons.
And the next morning Jesus was out to the wilderness.
What if wilderness proceeds power? What if those times in our lives when we are feeling lost and lonely and without a place, that it is there, that we are being prepared for what is coming? No one likes the wilderness. Yet we find when we have been in one that God prepares us. As I looked at this section and saw the 4 immediately’s happened after the wilderness. I could see how this was like… boom, boom, boom, boom! Things happening very quickly.
I see there is power to teach, to have authority over devils, have the ability to make quick decisions, and power to help, heal, and deliver others.
That’s a lot of output! No wonder Jesus returned to the desert to pray. It didn’t take long before the people found him again and began to come out to were he was. He started travelling around a bit and a leper came who asked for healing. Jesus was moved with pity and again, immediately, the leprosy left him.
Places of wilderness benefit us. They ready us for the work to be done and the by-product is others are helped. If only we could wrap our mind around that fact that it is for our good and search for God in it. We just don’t like dry, lonely, empty places it feels too much like suffering. We shoot for happiness but it is suffering that forms us and has the most potential for creating in us real change. Yet, too often if you are like me, you find your heart complaining about the wilderness until you are willing to surrender to it.