Mark 1:35-45

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 19, 2004


Jesus has come onto the scene in Israel.  As He was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit rested on Jesus and the Father spoke.  John the Baptist let the people know that the Messiah had come.  After being tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus began to call His disciples.  He found Peter, Andrew, James, and John and challenged them to follow Him so He could make them fishers of men.

Last week we saw Jesus demonstrate His authority through His teaching, the casting out of demons, and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law.  After these displays of power, there are crowds starting to follow Jesus.

Mark 1:35-39

:35  And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

in the morningproi – early; the fourth watch of the night, from 3 o’clock in the morning until 6 o’clock approximately

before dayennuchon (“in” + “night”) – NAS – “while it was still dark”

solitaryeremos – lonely, desolate, uninhabited



Jesus seemed to have a need to pray.
He got up early to pray
To start a day to be used by God, you need to start the day with God.
Talking with God.

That’s what prayer is all about, simply talking to God. 

It’s a time to put all your worries and burdens and God’s feet.

(1 Pet 5:7 KJV)  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

It’s a time to do spiritual work, using spiritual tools and spiritual weapons.

(2 Cor 10:3-5 KJV)  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: {4} (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) {5} Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

(Eph 6:12 KJV)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

(Eph 6:18 KJV)  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Hearing from God

(Isa 50:4 NASB)  The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

Spend time reading God’s Word and listening to what God wants to teach you.  You can read through the Bible with us, its five chapters a day while we’re in Psalms (which doesn’t take long), then it’s basically three chapters a day the rest of the year.  There’s a daily chart on the church website, or if you get the weekly Pastor-to-Person e-mails, you get the week’s assignments by e-mail.

He withdrew to pray.  He got away from people and distractions.
Elijah was in trouble.  Jezebel was upset with him for killing her prophets of Baal.  So he ran away.  He hid himself in a cave where he experienced fire, wind, and earthquakes.  But God wasn’t in any of those things.  God spoke to him in a “still, small voice”.
God tends to speak in a “still, small voice”.
If you get much noise or distraction going on in a room, it’s pretty hard to spend some quality time with God.
The life of prayer starts when you learn to pray when you’re alone.
Some people only pray or spend time with God when others are watching

(Mat 6:5 KJV)  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Don’t use prayer just to get attention from others.

Jesus taught that a person of prayer is a person who knows how to pray when they’re alone.

(Mat 6:6 KJV)  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

There is nothing wrong with praying in public and praying with other people.  The Bible is filled with examples of when this is done properly.  There is great power when God’s people come together and pray.

But if you never spend time alone praying, then your prayer life needs to take some steps of growth.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray.
(Mat 6:9 KJV)  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Luke records another incident when Jesus taught the “Lord’s Prayer”.  He records that Jesus was asked to teach the disciples how to pray, and He was asked after the disciples had been seen Him praying.

(Luke 11:1-2 KJV)  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. {2} And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Jesus taught by example.  He didn’t just talk about prayer, He prayed and talked about prayer.

Too often we get interested in prayer and we can read books on prayer and hear people talk about prayer.  Once a year Fullerton hosts its own Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, which is a really neat thing and where Jesus is talked about, but not too much actual praying goes on.  Sometimes what is missing from our meetings is simply getting down to praying.

Following the Lord, being His disciple, means learning a life of prayer.
Jesus saw the needs of ministry and knew that the way to respond to the overwhelming needs was to pray for more laborers.
(Mat 9:36-38 KJV)  But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. {37} Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; {38} Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Luke records what Jesus did after saying that:

(Luke 6:12 KJV)  And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

The next morning Jesus went out and chose the twelve apostles.

Some of you are involved in leading various ministries in the church.  Some of you know that sometimes you need help in your ministry.  Jesus said the answer was to pray.
Even after a tremendous time of ministry, after feeding the 5,000 and sending the disciples off in a boat, Jesus went to pray.
(Mat 14:23 KJV)  And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

It would appear that Jesus spent much of the night in prayer.

Perhaps He felt drained and needed to draw near to God for strength.  Perhaps He sensed a need for God’s continued work in the people He had just ministered to.  Perhaps He knew God still wasn’t finished with these folks.

Jesus was faced with a particular difficult situation.  Some of His disciples had been attempting to cast a demon out of a boy, but they had been unable to do so.
(Mat 17:17-21 KJV)  Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. {18} And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. {19} Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? {20} And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. {21} Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Some kinds of ministry aren’t going to happen unless we learn to be a praying people.

At the beach – some young children find it a challenge just to get their toes into the water.  The waves can seem frightening.  Yet God doesn’t want us to spend our lives just dabbling our toes at the water’s edge.  He wants us to learn to swim.  He wants us to learn to ride the waves.

If we want to see God doing bigger things at our church, we need to be a people who believe so much in God answering prayer that we are praying more and more.

:37 …All men seek for thee.

Simon Peter probably means that everyone in Capernaum is out looking for Jesus.  After all, they had all been to his house the day before.

:38 …Let us go into the next towns…for therefore came I forth.

came I forthexerchomai – to go or come forth of

This is the same word used back in verse 35, translated “he went out”.  Jesus is saying, “I went out to the wilderness to pray because it is time to be moving on to these other towns to preach”.

:39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee


Be stretched

Jesus had experienced some wonderful times of ministry in the little town of Capernaum.  Capernaum would be a sort of “home-base” for Jesus and His disciples.
But He didn’t spend all His time in Capernaum.
Sometimes we can get a bit too comfortable in the various roles we perform in life.
What if God were to stretch you a little?  Jesus knew He had other towns to preach in beside Capernaum.
Phillip the evangelist was having great success in Samaria.  Many people were coming to the Lord.
But God told him to head south where he found one guy out in the desert, the Ethiopian eunuch.
Phillip might have balked at the idea of leaving such a thriving ministry, but God had someone who needed to hear about Jesus.
Jonah was also called out of his comfort zone.  God called him to preach to the hated people of Nineveh.
When Jonah ran from God, God let Jonah get even more uncomfortable.
Let God stretch you.  Don’t get too comfortable.

Mark 1:40-45 Healing the leper

:40 there came a leper …If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

a leperlepros – scaly, rough; leprous, affected with leprosy

Leprosy in Jesus’ day included a variety of skin disorders, including “Hanson’s Disease”, which today we call leprosy.  It was all considered incurable at that time.  It made a person an outcast, as they were no longer able to associate with anyone else but lepers.  The person would be barred from participating in any kind of worship.

thou wiltthelo – to will, intend; to purpose; to desire, to wish

There are two different words the leper could have used.  There is a word that speaks of being willing with the mind (boulomai), a mental choice, “if you choose to ….  There is another word that speaks of being willing with the emotions (thelo), a heart choice, “if you want to ….  It’s the heart that the leper appeals to when He asks Jesus for help.

:41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

moved with compassionsplagchnizomai – to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)

put forthekteino – to stretch out, stretch forth

touchedhaptomai – to fasten one’s self to, adhere to, cling to

This is the word used (John 20:17) when Jesus appeared to Mary after His resurrection and she grabbed a hold of Jesus and He said, “Touch Me not”, or, “Stop clinging to me”.

Jesus doesn’t just lightly brush His hand on the fellow.  He doesn’t just lay His hand on the man.  He grabs a hold of this man.

I willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish

The man asked if Jesus was willing.  Jesus said He was willing.

It would be against the Law of Moses for Jesus to touch an unclean leper.

But the grammar indicates that Jesus speaks the words “I will …” as He is reaching out His hand to touch the man.  Jesus doesn’t touch the man to heal him, but to show that He has already been healed by Jesus’ words.


Jesus cleanses the unlovely

You might be thinking that you are the last person that someone like Jesus would ever help.
You are exactly the kind of person that Jesus wants to help.
Leprosy is often seen in the Bible as a picture of sin.
It’s deadly.  It works to numb us and then kill us.  It is incurable.
Yet there is someone who can cleanse the leper.
There is someone who can cleanse the sinner.
Is He willing?  You bet He is.  But you have to ask for His help.
(John 1:12 KJV)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

:43 And he straitly charged him …

Jesus gives him some pretty stern, strict orders …

:44 … See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest…for a testimony unto them.

Throughout the gospels we see Jesus telling various individuals not to talk about Him.  I’m not sure that Jesus’ reason is the same for every instance.

Last week we saw Jesus telling the demons not to talk about Him.  Jesus doesn’t need free publicity from demons or from those who haven’t chosen to follow Him.  He needs a witness from those who have been changed by Him.

Now it looks as if Jesus is telling this man not to tell anyone about his healing from leprosy.

Jesus isn’t saying that this man should never say anything to anyone else.  Jesus’ concern is simply that the priests have a witness to what God has done.

Jesus seemed to consider the healing of the lepers as part of the demonstration of His being the Messiah.  When John the Baptist sent a message to Jesus because he was apparently having doubts about Jesus being the Messiah:

(Luke 7:22 KJV)  Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
Jesus wants the priests to know that the Messiah has come.

…which Moses commanded

There was a pretty bizarre ritual in the book of Leviticus concerning what to do on the day that a leper was actually healed (Lev. 14).

The priest took two birds.  One bird was killed and its blood was mixed with cedar wood, a scarlet thread, and hyssop.  Then the live bird was dipped in the mixture and set free, as a picture of the leper now being set free to a new life.  Then the mixture was sprinkled on the cleansed leper. Then the leper was to be shaved and bathed.  A week later two lambs were sacrificed for him.  Lamb’s blood was then put on the leper’s ear, thumb, and big toe signifying that his life had been cleansed. 
It’s interesting that the only people in Scripture who would have blood put on their ear, thumb, and big toe were either the priests (Ex. 29:20), or cleansed lepers.
Then the priest was to take oil and put it on the man’s ear, thumb, and big toe signifying that he was now anointed to serve the Lord. 

This was not a common occurrence.  There were records of only two lepers healed in the Old Testament (Miriam and Naaman).  The cleansing of a leper was a huge miracle.


Listen to Jesus’ directions

There are people that God is concerned about that we would tell about Him.
Perhaps the man thought, “Hey, what’s the big deal?  Don’t the priests already know about God?”

But the priests needed to hear what Jesus had done.

Perhaps Jesus felt it was important that this man experience go through the ceremony to become socially and religiously “clean”.  Perhaps Jesus wanted the man to obey the law.
Perhaps Jesus wanted the priests to see a bit of the connection between themselves and this cleansed leper.
Perhaps Jesus wanted the priests to see that He had not come to do away with the Law, but was actually fulfilling the Law.
Pay attention to God’s promptings.  God doesn’t always have to tell you why.  Just do what He says.

:45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter…

publishkerusso – to be a herald, to officiate as a herald; to preach

to blaze abroaddiaphemizo – to spread abroad, blaze abroad; to spread abroad his fame or renown

After this man began going around telling everyone about Jesus, there was a period of time when Jesus couldn’t even enter into a city because He would be mobbed by the crowds.  He would eventually be able to go back into the cities, but for awhile a temporary problem pops up because Jesus becomes too popular.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing that the man went out and told others about Jesus.  I don’t think the man is directly disobeying Jesus in telling others about what Jesus did for him.

But he’s not doing all that Jesus asked him to do.

Jesus asked him to send a message to the priests, which the man didn’t do.

Luke records what Jesus did in response to the crowds growing in size:

(Luke 5:16 KJV)  And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.