|Creating Space for God to Speak
(Series, "Voices," Message 4)
October 23, 2016 – Communitas Group Lesson
Mike McDaniel, Lead Pastor, Grace Point Church of Northwest Arkansas
Icebreaker: How do you find time to do what you like doing (exercising, shopping, watch sports on TV, etc.)? What is it that you like to do and how do you find time to do it?
Transition: Is this a true statement: If you love doing it, you will make time for it? Schedules aren’t just about time management, they are also about what we love and place as a priority. Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God was bold enough to say “People who struggle to spend time with God don’t have a schedule problem, they have a love problem.” Mike talked about creating space for God to speak.
Read: Mark 1:35-39
HEAD Questions (What was God saying in the text when it was first written?)
1. How disciplined and focused was Jesus in his own life?
2. Why would you think it is necessary for Jesus to sacrifice sleep and get alone to talk to God the Father if He is God the Son? How much more should we consider it important and make it a priority for fallen mankind to sacrifice sleep and get alone with God?
3. What was going on back at “camp” while Jesus was away praying?
4. What clarity did Jesus gain from His prayer time? (read v. 39)
HEART Questions (What do I sense God is saying to me through this passage?)
1. Confess to your group how much discretionary time you spend per day on social media, games, entertainment, etc., on your phone? How could you take some or all that time and devote it to some space and quality time with God?
2. Describe how well you are doing creating space that allows silence, solitude, stillness, and incorporates Scripture?
3. How has time spent with God helped you clarify your purpose and next step in life?
HAND Questions (How is God transforming me through this passage?)
1. When, where and how much time will you alot this week for silence, solitude, stillness, and Scripture?
2. If married and with children, how can you run blocks for each other in the relationship to help each person in the marriage have time with God this week?
3. Write out one "next move" question you have for God. Remember how Jesus knew His next step in ministry sprang from His time spent listening to the Father. Make your next move a matter of focused prayer and look for God at work in and through the topic. If you see Him at work, take your next move; if you don’t, wait.
1:35. Despite a full day of ministry (vv. 21–34), Jesus got up the next morning very early, before daybreak (about 4 a.m.) and went out to a solitary (er?mon, “uninhabited, remote”) place (cf. v. 4) where He spent time praying. He withdrew from the acclaim of the Capernaum crowds to a wilderness place—the kind of place where He initially confronted Satan and withstood his temptations (cf. vv. 12–13).
Mark selectively portrayed Jesus at prayer on three crucial occasions, each in a setting of darkness and aloneness: near the beginning of his account (v. 35), near the middle (6:46), and near the end (14:32–42). All three were occasions when He was faced with the possibility of achieving His messianic mission in a more attractive, less costly way. But in each case He gained strength through prayer.
:36–37. The crowds, returning to Simon’s door and expecting to find Jesus, discovered He was gone. Simon and his companions (cf. v. 29) went out to look for Him (lit., “to hunt Him down,” from katadi?k?, occurring only here in the NT). Their exclamation, Everyone is looking for You! implied some annoyance because they thought Jesus was failing to capitalize on some excellent opportunities in Capernaum.
1:38–39. Jesus’ reply showed that they too did not understand Him or His mission. His plan was to go elsewhere—to the nearby villages, populous market towns, so that He could preach (cf. vv. 4, 14) there also, in addition to Capernaum. His explanatory statement, That (“to preach”) is why I have come, probably does not refer to leaving Capernaum (He left to pray, v. 35) but rather to His coming from God on a divine mission. His purpose was to proclaim “the good news of God” (v. 14) and confront people with the demand to “repent and believe” it (v. 15). Since the Capernaum crowds sought Him as a Miracle-worker, He deliberately departed to preach elsewhere.
Verse 39 summarizes His tour throughout Galilee (cf. v. 28) which probably lasted several weeks (cf. Matt. 4:23–25). His main activity was preaching (cf. Mark 1:14–15) in the local synagogues, and His driving out (ekball?n; cf. v. 34) demons dramatically confirmed His message.
(Grassmick, John D. “Mark.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by
J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.)