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. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Jesus has just healed a great many people the night before. He is beginning to gain momentum and build a name for himself in this town, and what does he decide to do? Leave and go to the next town, because "that is why I have come." Jesus could have stayed and been famous! But He doesn't do that because He knows that isn't what He has been sent to do. You see right at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry He has a chance to grab at personal glory, but He walks away. Jesus decides that He will not settle for personal notoriety and success. He will live His life for God's glory, not His own. Now this may seem like an odd thing to say about one of the most famous people in the history of the world, but you must remember that in His lifetime Jesus was not considered that significant. He never married. Never had kids. Never owned a home. He traveled, but not really very far. (Paul traveled much further than Jesus did.) Yes, at times Jesus had a large following. But this wasn't God's ultimate purpose for Him. This is evident from stories like the one we find in John 6:22-71 where Jesus loses many of his followers because of a hard saying. Jesus didn't shy away from saying difficult things for the same reason He found it so easy to move on from town to town. His purpose wasn't to build Himself up, but to announce the coming of the kingdom of God to the people of God. His greatest desire was obedience to God not increasing His own following.
What is your greatest desire? Better yet, what are you living life for? If you are anything like me, each week feels like a marathon. You barely make it day to day, getting done all that you have to do. You just make it to the weekend...a weekend which rarely affords you enough rest to feel ready to head into the next marathon week. How true God's Word is when it says, "Each day has enough trouble of its own!" (Matthew 6:34) If you are living like this, expending all this effort, what are you living like this for? For more money? For a bigger office? To hear your kids say thank you one day? Or are you doing, whatever you are doing to obey God, to enlarge His glory, His name, and His pleasure. Or let me put it this way, who are you living life for? Are you trying to make your parent's proud or your spouse happy? Are you trying to provide enough stuff for your kids so they don't feel out of place at school? Or are you living solely for the One who created you and who loves you (even when you rebel against Him in sin), the One who took on flesh and experienced the pains of everyday living in order to save you from your sin, and the One who is drawing you to Himself even now? Who are you living for? Choose today. Will you live for yourself, for other people or for God? (Hint: you should really choose God!)
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