Notes on Mark 1, verses 35-39
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
Mark 1:35, KJV And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
This is the first recorded time in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus prayed, rising early, even before sunrise, it seems. Mark did not record how much time Jesus spent in prayer before this event but surely prayer and communion with His Father would always be in His focus.
This is also the first recorded time, in Mark, where Jesus prayed in a solitary place. True, the wilderness itself would have been very solitary while Jesus was being tested (see verses 12-13) but Mark mentions only a little about this. As mentioned earlier, the first parts of Matthew 4 and Luke 4 give more details about this time of our Lord’s testing/temptation.
36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.
Jesus and others had gone to the house of Simon and Andrew after the Sabbath synagogue service (verses 21-29). While there, Jesus healed many people of many ailments. He had left the house in order to find a solitary place to pray. Now, Simon and others followed after Him. This probably means they went to the place where He was praying. How they knew where to look is not mentioned. Could they have followed Jesus to the very place He was going to pray? If so, were they going to pray with Him? We’ll never know the answers down here. The important thing is that Jesus believed in prayer and He prayed often!
37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.
This implies a more or less careful search for Jesus (experts in the original language, feel free to add comments or clarification here). Comparing this verse with v 36, it seems Jesus had left the house before sunrise so that He could find a solitary place and pray there. Just when Simon and the others discovered Jesus had left is not known; they could have followed Him soon after He left or after a greater period of time. Eventually they found Jesus and declared, “Everybody is looking for You!”
38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.
Note how Jesus turned the issue around: “all men seek for Thee” to “let us go into the next towns”. Simon, Andrew, James, John, and possibly others, were His disciples. At the very least, they had followed Him when (after) He had said, “Follow Me. True, Jesus could have spent much time in this location but He knew He had to go other places.
As an aside, one of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard about this came from a radio broadcast many years ago. The speaker was discussing what the people who heard the Lord’s invitation might be thinking but, as he closed his thought, he said, “They answered with their feet”. In other words, they didn’t merely agree to follow—as a preacher once said, “they put feet to their faith”.
39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.
Here Mark summarizes the two things Jesus apparently did most: preaching in the synagogues of “all Galilee” and casting out demons. Mark does not state how many synagogues Jesus visited nor how many demons He cast out of how many people. The focus seems to be the unceasing work Jesus did.
Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).