Monday 26th July
Mark 1:21-45 (ESV)
21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
32 That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
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. 36 And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37 and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
Have you ever had days that are so busy you hop from one activity to the next? Maybe not very recently because of covid restrictions and the reduced number of social activities, but maybe that is starting to happen again? How do you prioritise your time when everyone needs you for something? They need a job doing, a snack making, a nappy changing, the car needs a service, work gives you more projects. The list is never ending. In this section, Mark tells us a bit more about who Jesus is and what his priorities are. He shows us that Jesus is someone who has authority over illnesses and demons by casting out those demons and curing many of their various ailments. He does not have the same to do list as us but he is clearly very busy doing good work.
We see in verse 35 that Jesus gets up super early, or as we might know it, still night time(!!), to pray. He’s got a busy schedule, people are always asking for him, he’s now famous for his miracles, he literally has to leave town and hide (v45). He is not playing down people’s needs. He shows so much compassion and love to those healed here and yet he understands the need to spend time with his heavenly father in prayer. If very early is the only time he can do it, then very early it will be so he doesn’t miss out on it. In the midst of all his demands, and busy ministry schedule, he prays. He isn’t spending all his time in prayer, but he is prioritising it. What an example to us. If Jesus, the son of God, thinks prayer is this important, then it should be important enough for us to make time in our day to pray too. Martin Luther is believed to have said, “I have so much to do I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” He was living out Jesus’ example.
Time in prayer with his heavenly father didn’t stop him doing good works or from achieving his main purpose. He tells us in verse 38 that the reason he has come is to preach the gospel. So while he is compassionate to those in need, he doesn’t wish to be seen as a famous miracle worker but as a saviour. He’s so keen for everyone to know about the kingdom of God, he travels throughout Galilee and speaks in the synagogues where he would have had a healthy sized audience. He has his disciples in tow to help him. He wants people to repent and believe that the kingdom of God is here but he first commits it to prayer.
So what does this mean for us in Royal Tunbridge Wells in 2021? It means we need to be praying each day and whilst we should meet the needs of others where we can, it should not detract from sharing the gospel with those who don’t yet know Jesus. Good works and essential care for our families should not prevent us from reading even just one verse and praying. God knows our situations, our busyness and our exhaustion. He’s watched me fall asleep sitting up countless times over the last 5 years whilst attempting to listen, read and pray but he wants us to try anyway. It’s ok, uncomfortable, but ok to fall asleep in a chair because God is being gracious enough to bring rest to your soul and allow you to sleep in that moment. He sees you weary and in need, he hears your cries and he is there. Come to him each day, whatever time that might be and pray.
● Where can you find time to be with God each day?
● What can you learn or be reminded of when you read a bible story with your children? Remember to pray with them too.
● Can you find a prayer partner to pray with and be accountable to/for?
Text each other, share prayer requests, meet up but commit each other to prayer!
● Consider using a prayer model to help
Adoration - praise God for who he is
Confession - confess your sins, say sorry and ask for God's forgiveness.
Thanksgiving - What things in your life can you give thanks for?
Supplication - Ask God for his help with specific things.
2021 Summer Bible Reading in Mark's Gospel
Each weekday over the school summer holidays, do join us in reading Mark's gospel and learning more about Jesus.
We'll suggest a Bible passage along with a short reflection (see above for today's devotion).
Whether you have 2 minutes, 5 minutes or longer - let's grow in taking time to listen to God's Word each day.
And why not ask one another how it's going?
Click on the relevant date below for the link to previous Bible passages and reflections.
Don't worry if you miss days - just pick up where you left off:
Wednesday 25th August: Mark 14:32-52
Thursday 26th August: Mark 14:53-72
Friday 27th August: Mark 15:1-15
Monday 30th August: Mark 15:16-32
Tuesday 31st August: Mark 15:33-47
Wednesday 1st September: Mark 16:1-8
As a part of the wider church family, our women's ministry seeks to know Jesus better and make Jesus better known.
This happens in many ways, as we all encourage one another and share God's Word with one another on Sundays, in small groups and throughout our day to day lives.
This also happens through a number of events we enjoy together:
Jan/Feb: Women's breakfast
March: A weekend away in the beautiful East Sussex countryside.
Late Nov: Christmas evening
Women's Bible Studies
These are for women of any age and stage of life. We meet weekly during term-time to study the Bible, encourage each other and pray. Our aims are to know Jesus better and to make him better known. We'd love you to join us if you are already a Christian or if you're wanting to find out more about the Christian faith.
Groups are currently meeting online using video conferencing software: on Tuesday afternoons (2 - 3.15pm), Wednesday mornings (10-11am) and Thursday mornings (10.30am - 12noon).
For more details contact Jenny Williams using the form below.