“And they were astonished at his teaching.” (Mark 1:22)
“And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching” (Mark 1:21). Enter our home, dear Lord, as you entered this city when you moved about the earth. Let this be a place where I learn from you, where you have freedom to teach, where I present you a heart prepared like softened soil for you to plant your truth. Let this modern house be like that ancient synagogue. Come near and speak your Word to me, while I wait before you in my own Capernaum.
“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). Astonish me with your teaching, Lord. May I respond like those in the synagogue, amazed at what you have for me today. Awaken my heart and mind to react in absolute wonder to the truth you open before my eyes. Astound me anew with the familiar phrase; overwhelm me with portions I have not seen till now. May I carry the treasures you illuminate with me throughout the day.
“But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’” (Mark 1:25) In like manner Lord, rebuke any part of me that does not line up with your priorities. Silence the wrong thoughts, the lies I believe, the indifference that preoccupies, the unbelief that demands center stage. Reprove the wayward habits imbedded like concrete. Admonish the defiant parts and make them flee just as you did for the man you encountered in Capernaum.
“And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority!’” (Mark 1:27) Let my heart be a questioning one, a seeking one, restless in pursuit of further understanding. Let amazement at your absolute authority create in me a passion to know you more, to follow after you, to be unsatisfied with what I believe I already know.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus, would you remind me daily that you made this excellent choice, that you sacrificed time, energy, and fame to ensure you were alone with your Father. Please develop this passion in me, to wait for you and to listen to you far more than I speak, until you become my highest priority. Help me learn to rise up and make my way to that place where you are waiting to meet with me.
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell