Jesus Behind the Scenes
So after a long evening of serving others, Jesus says to his disciples, "I'm setting the alarm for later in the morning. A little more shut eye. It's been a tough evening. I'm hitting the sack. Sleep in, guys."
"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" (Mark 1:35).
I can't read this verse without Isaiah the prophet whispering in my ear, "See. See, I told you."
"The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
"The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears,
and I have not been rebellious;
I have not drawn back" (Isaiah 50:4-5).
Jesus is up, out of the house, away from people. He is in a lonely, wilderness place. He's been wakened by his Father. He's being taught in the embrace of solitude, silence and prayer.
Jesus would later confess, "For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say" (John 12:49-50).
Jesus, in his humiliation, that is, the Son of God in his incarnation, was fully, totally, 100% human. He was on a leveled playing field with us. He drew upon the same resources available to every child of God. He had a Bible which he quoted when Satan tempted him. He had the Spirit empowering him (see, for example, Luke 4:17-19 and Acts 10:38) just as each child of God does. And he had solitude and prayer (Mark 1:35; see Luke 5:16). "Lord, teach us to pray."
Jesus: dramatic in the synagogue and Temple; fascinating as a teacher; courageously compassionate among thousands of suffering people. Yet, behind the scenes Jesus is a praying person--alone, silent, worshiping, surrendered.
After the morning hunt, when the disciples finally found Jesus, they shouted, "Everyone is looking for you."
Jesus replied, "Good. Let's get out of this town. I came to preach the gospel of the kingdom, not to be a sought-after healer. Pack your bags. Let's go! That's why I came."
Where does that kind of strong mission come from? How did he so easily dispel the mesmerizing pull of popularity? Simple, "...he prayed."