Daily Devotional for July 15

July 15                                                               Mark 1:14-28


In today's Gospel, the urgency of Jesus' ministry cannot be
missed. Following the arrest of John, Jesus moves center-stage,
preaching, teaching, and healing. His recorded sayings are near-
ly all imperatives, and the word "immediately" is used
repeatedly to describe the events that unfold around him. Jesus
appears to hurry along, avoiding distractions and focusing on
the essential.


Along with this sense of urgency, Jesus communicates an
authority that impresses all whom he encounters. When he
calls the disciples to leave their occupations and follow him,
they respond without hesitation. When he teaches in the
synagogue, people are astonished, "for he taught them as one
who had authority." In confronting an unclean spirit, his com-
mand brings immediate obedience.


Such urgency and authority are often sadly lacking in our own
ministry. Even though we may manage at times to rise above
our spiritual lethargy to take a few steps in the service of others,
our commitments are too often short-lived and self-serving.
All too quickly we revert to the comfort and security of the
status quo. It is no wonder that much of what we preach goes
unheeded.


One reason why Jesus' ministry was filled with energy and
authority was that he gave himself wholeheartedly to God's
call on his life. And although his commitment to the life God
had called him to was tested in many ways and at many times,
he remained faithful, even in the face of the cross. Because
of his faithfulness in life and in death, even the unbelieving
centurion proclaimed, "Truly this man was the Child of God!"
(Mark 15:39)


If our message and ministry are ever to have the power and
authority of Jesus' message and ministry, then one thing is clear:
we will have to put ourselves on the line as single-mindedly as
Jesus did. Today's Gospel accordingly invites us to examine the
level of our commitment to God's unique call on our lives.
Divided loyalties bring diluted results. Complete commitment
brings authenticity, authority, and urgency to our message.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C

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