During His ministry here on earth, Jesus often sought out quiet places to pray. But why? It tells us in Mark 1:35, “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.” The answer to “why He did this” is in what happened the night before. The town of Capernaum had witnessed Jesus healing someone in the Synagogue…and so later that night the entire town converged at the house where Jesus was staying…bringing in tow every sick and demon-possessed person they could find. And it says Jesus healed them. When we give much, our emotional gas tanks gets low. And the only way to fill them is to find a place of quiet reflection so that God can renew us . Jesus was practicing the discipline of silence in order to replenish, restore, refresh, and revive His soul…and it’s something we could do well to imitate.
That life-changing encounter with Jesus was the start of your journey as a Believer. You marveled at the grace, mercy, and loving kindness that was extended to you… a sinner that only deserved death. You became a recipient of the greatest gift ever…the free gift of eternal life. But for many of us we stop there, never sharing this Good News with others. We instead hold tightly to this gift refusing to share…desiring to just keep it to ourselves. But Paul tells us in this verse that first we are a receiver, but then we become a messenger… an ambassador for Christ, telling others about Him. Paul goes on in I Corinthians 11:2, ” I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.” How can we keep such wonderful, life-changing news to ourselves? The Lord wants us to pass it on to others. So today, tell someone how Jesus is working in your life.
When the Holy Spirit is deeply embedded in you and what you do, the Lord takes great delight. But you also need to remember that it’s about the people you touch, not about the things you think you need to accomplish. Projects are wonderful…outreach into the community, volunteer work, leading Bible Studies, etc. But they only become notches in your gun if that’s the sole reason you’re doing them. Sorry to say, but touching others for Christ isn’t about you at all. It’s about demonstrating God’s love in tangible ways to others and pointing them towards Jesus.
As a Christian we live two lives. One is our inner life…or our vertical life. This is our very intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father and consists of prayer and Bible study. This vertical life is spent getting to know God. The other is our outer life…or our horizontal life. This is our relationship with others as an ambassador for Christ. It consists of being the hands and feet of Jesus. This horizontal life is spent showing the love of God to the unloved and unlovely. Both are vitally important and interdependent on each other…for both are necessary to a vibrant and growing Christian walk. Our vertical relationship with Christ sparks us to reach out horizontally to others with His love… which sends us back to Him to be refilled…only to be again compelled to reach out for Him.
Demonstrating kindness to others can only benefit ourselves…for it doesn’t cost a thing to be kind. Matthew 7:12 is considered “The Golden Rule”, its principle being, we need to treat others as we would wish to be treated. But instead, we human beings usually demand love, respect, and appreciation… whether we deserve it or not. The Golden Rule simply says…Do you want respect, love and appreciation?…then show respect, love and appreciation to others first. Jesus desires us to be proactive in our kindness…not waiting until someone is kind to us first, but rather reaching out with kindness first, regardless if it’s reciprocated or not.
Jesus is predicting His betrayal by Judas in quoting Psalm 41:9. In the span of three short years, Jesus fulfilled each prophecy that had been written about the coming Messiah. From His selection of the apostles…to knowing full well the impending treachery of Judas…Jesus carried out His plan and purpose wholly .
Later, in Titus 2:14 it says, “Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people who are His very own, eager to do what is good.” If as a Believer, we could fully grasp just how valued and cherished we are in the Lord’s sight, we would be radically changed. But we can grasp it in a fashion. Jesus Christ died in our place on that Cross…taking upon Himself our sins, in order that we may have a pathway to God. You want to know how precious you are to the Lord? Take a look at His hands and feet…He willingly endured that for you.