35In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” 38He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” 39And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.
After a remarkable day of teaching and healing late into the evening, Jesus did not stop to think about how well he was doing, how great it had gone! Early in the morning, he was up, gone out into a deserted place – often the gospels report this was a mountain side – to be alone with God, and to pray. Jesus often took time out to go out alone and pray.
Simon “and his companions” went out looking for Jesus. What could he be thinking? The people were looking for him, lined up waiting for him to do more healing. When they found Jesus, they told him that everyone was looking for him. Their words sound almost like they are scolding Jesus! But they will learn – Jesus rarely does what anyone expects him to do, including his disciples! His response was that they were moving on to the neighboring towns – he needed to proclaim the good news to them. That was what he came for, to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, to all the people he could reach! And so, Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming his message, casting out demons, and healing!
The lesson – we must take time out, to find our own “deserted places”, some place where we can block out the noise of the world, and be alone with God. We must pray! We cannot discern God’s will without prayer. God may have a mission for us that is different from what people expect, but we must stay in relationship to God to know what that is!
photo is the view from Mt. Carmel.