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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
I love the way that this passage shows Jesus’ sense of purpose in life. In the previous verses, Jesus had the opportunity to minister to many people, and gladly healed them and cast out many demons. In that moment, their need is His priority. Then, after what is surely a late and tiring night, He gets up early and goes to an isolated place to pray. He doesn’t let the buzz, the excitement or the lack of sleep overwhelm Him. He seeks the Father in prayer and keeps His greater purpose in the forefront of His mind. This is reflected in verses 37-38; everyone is looking for Him, but He knows that He can’t just stay and minister to these people alone. His priority is now the greater purpose of going to other towns and preaching there too. “That is why I came”, He says.
I find it very easy to get distracted and dislodged from God’s purposes in my life. Whether it’s the excitement of a victory, the upset of a loss, or simply fatigue and tiredness, I have found that all sorts of things will steal my focus from God’s greater purpose for my life. Thankfully, He is gracious. He gently guides us back to Him, and His mercy is new each day. One thing that I think greatly helps is a disciplined dedication to seeking Him each day. Jesus demonstrates the importance of that in these verses.
God, I want to fulfill Your purpose for my life. Help me to stay close to you each day, and help me to not let life steal my gaze away from You. Amen.
Written by Matt Samperi