Read Mark 1:29-45
This pericope begins and ends with healing and deliverance, and wedged in the middle is our Lord’s escape into a time of prayer. This sandwich consisting of the meat of prayer between the bread of miracles was significant for Mark, and is instructive for us.
Mark tells us that Jesus “drove out many demons, but He would not let the demons speak, because they knew who He was.” And in the conclusion of this chapter, Jesus tells the man who was cured of leprosy, “See that you don’t tell this to anyone…” Why? Is it ever wrong to proclaim what the Lord has done for us? It is a two-fold question of motivation and obedience. Are we testifying to draw attention to ourselves, or are we motivated by love for Christ? And, secondly, is it an appropriate time and venue for giving witness to Christ? Are we walking in obedience to Him?
The demons knew who Jesus was, but their proclamation of the Truth was not motivated by love. St. Athanasius says, “For although what they said was true…yet Jesus did not wish that the truth should proceed from an unclean mouth, and especially from such as those who under pretense of truth might mingle with it their own malicious devices.” And as for the leper at the end of the chapter, he was openly disobedient. Jesus told him to not say anything, “But go, show yourself to the priest…” And Mark records, “Instead he went out and began to talk freely…As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly…”
But let us not forget the meat of this sandwich. “Jesus…went to a solitary place, where He prayed.” Jesus looked to the Father for direction and only did and spoke what the Father commanded (John 14:31). When we testify to God’s work is it for His glory or to draw attention to ourselves? And have we prayed and are we moving in obedience to God’s prompting? Let us do only what He directs.