Jesus understood perfectly that in order to keep on giving out in teaching, acts of compassion, healing miracles, then He needed time with His Father to receive His strength. Jesus knew that He could not live without prayer. It was essential that if He was to meet people, He must first meet God. Understanding, then that for Jesus prayer was His vital breath and He the Son of God, one of the Trinity, co-equal with God, how much more that our prayer life be sustained and enlarged in order that we might grow as Christians and be able to meet others in their need!
The very first part of the period of Jesus' ministry was extremely busy and there was never an opportunity for Him to be alone. He had, firstly, the disciples and their needs and questions and His responsibility to them and then there were the crowds of people, always seeking Him out.
An important thing to recognise in the Gospels is that Jesus' desire to spend time alone always coincided with a move forward in His ministry. This time it was when He chose that the time was right to spread His ministry geographically: He went to many synagogues (wherever there were twelve Jewish males without a synagogue a new one could be built) and preached the Good News-remember this was exciting tidings-and we are told here that He cast out demons. Spiritually, this period of time when Jesus had just begun His ministry was dark and many were spiritually afflicted. We don't know if the demons were more present and active because Jesus was bringing light into the darkness or that things had been this way for many years. You may have experienced a home or an area that is spiritually dark and oppressed, some have told me that it can be whole countries which have this oppressive feel, Cornwall had its strangeness!
What does this teach us this morning?
1. Sometimes we may have to get up very early in order to have time with God in the quiet. If you awake very early then consider whether it is the Spirit prompting you to prayer.
2. Jesus was human. He needed to restore His strength.
3. Jesus is God. He cast out demons with divine authority!
4. Our mission is to be in word and in deed. Principally and firstly, it must be in deed!