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Mark 099 - Immediately

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

Mark 6:45,46

Even though Pete Seeger wrote these words, you probably remember The Byrds[1] singing them.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Actually, he was quoting someone else. King Solomon wrote this long before Pete even existed[2].

And Jesus certainly believed this. The feeding time is over. It’s time to move on. He doesn’t want his disciples to hang around, bumping fists, posting pictures and selfies with the crowd, or upload video’s for their global audience.

In essence, Jesus pushes them out the door and makes them leave. He even tells them where to head to.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’d want to hang around. After all, they just experienced a great miracle! People were all excited, there was a buzz in the air. Some people said,

This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world[3].

Some people were going to leverage this event and force him to become their king[4].

But Jesus was going to have none of this. Nor was he going to allow this to distract his disciples. He could care less about trying to get his numbers up on Facebook or TikTok. He wasn’t interested in calls from the media. Jesus sends his disciples away, pointing them to Bethsaida.

After they leave, Jesus personally dismisses the crowd, and then gets alone to pray. I don’t know what was going on inside of Jesus head or heart, but getting alone to pray helps me keep my focus on what is truly important. It gives me time to reflect on who God is, who he has made me, and his purposes for me.

It would’ve been easy to try to leverage this great miracle and the resulting public acclaim for some short-term benefit. But Jesus has something bigger and better in mind. He’s not going to be satisfied with a bump in his numbers.

The only thing that Jesus’ going to be satisfied with is following through to the end. Why he was sent and what he is to do. And that end was a path that led to the garden of Gethsemane, his betrayal, arrest, torture, and crucifixion. That’s why he could say from the cross, “It is finished” before bowing his head and giving up his spirit[5].

It’s like the concluding battle scene from the original Star Wars. As the ragtag rebellion fighters are attacking the overwhelming power and size of the Death Star, and they are being brutally attacked, they are encouraged to “stay on target[6].”

Jesus was staying on target. He was giving direction to his disciples that was going to keep them on target. And part of his staying on target was getting away to pray.

How much focus do we exert in order to stay on target? How many things do we say no to in order to say yes to staying on target?

But perhaps the bigger question is, what’s your target? Why has God has put you here on planet Earth? Yes, you are to worship him, glorify him, enjoy him. And that’s a full-time job in itself. But there’s more to life than that. You were put here for a purpose. For a reason. Or, to put it another way, we’re to aim for and hit the target God’s put in front of us.

Have you asked God about your target? Have you said that you are willing to make any and all changes in order to be on target?

We have to get it out of our heads the idea that obeying God is somehow a lot less interesting and exciting than what we’re doing our own. On the contrary, following God’s purpose and target for our lives is without a doubt the most exciting, the most exhilarating, the most powerful life possible.

He didn’t make us to whittle away our time. To waste our time. To wish away our time. It’s time to “stay on target.” So, let’s immediately start.

[1] [2] Ecclesiastes 3:1 [3] John 6:14 [4] John 6:15 [5] John 19:28 – 30 [6]

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