We live in a frivolous age in which there is little time for what is of real and lasting value, and it is clear that many of those around us are drifting through shallow, purposeless lives. This ought not to be the case with the Christian, for he has a hope and a calling outside of this world. So where do we stand in relation to the use of our time? What would the divine assessment be of each page of the diary of our lives? In order to stir up our hearts to spend every day of our lives in a way more pleasing to Christ, I would like to draw your attention to just one day in the Master’s life of service on earth, the account of which is given in Mark 1: 21–39.
It was a Sabbath day, but it was not a day of rest for the Lord. “He entered”, we, read, “into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes” (vs 21, 22). What He said is not recorded—only the effect of it on those who heard. It was so different from that to which they had been accustomed. Clearly it was nothing merely traditional or conventional. Here was One who spoke with divine authority. A scribe might read the Scriptures, and voice his (or another’s) opinion on their meaning; the Lord uttered the words as a living message from God, and taught what God would have His people hear.
How much of that one day was spent teaching we are not told. However, while teaching, the Lord was heckled by a man possessed by an unclean spirit: “Eh! what have we to do with thee, Jesus, Nazarene? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God” (v24). If the congregation listened to the Lord in silence, struck by His teaching, this man could not keep quiet, for the unclean spirit within him would bear testimony to the Lord. The Lord, however, would not have His own testimony from above associated in any way with what was from beneath, and so responded by saying, “Hold thy peace and come out of him. And the unclean spirit, having torn him, and uttered a cry with a loud voice, came out of him. And all were amazed, so that they questioned together among themselves, saying, What is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him” (vs 25–27). They had just been astonished by his doctrine, and now they were amazed when that doctrine was reinforced by His works of power.
On leaving the synagogue, the Lord entered the house of Simon and Andrew in the company of James and John (see v29). His purpose in entering there was perhaps for refreshment and retirement. But there was no rest, for Simon’s mother–in–law lay in a fever, and so “straightway they speak to him about her” (v30). Thus the Lord “went up to [her] and raised her up, having taken her by the hand, and straightway the fever left her, and she served them” (v31).
The Lord’s service on that one day was not yet over, however, for “evening being come, when the sun had gone down, they brought to him all that were suffering, and those possessed by demons; and the whole city was gathered together at the door” (vs 32, 33). The city was astir—for the Sabbath was over at sunset—but why was Simon’s house the place to which all were gathered? Because there was One there who could meet all their needs. Thus the happy peace which had surely reigned within the house was broken in upon by crowds of desperate people with their sick and afflicted. Yet the Lord was not indignant about being disturbed, or indifferent to their need for “he healed many suffering from various diseases; and he cast out many demons” (v34). Thus activity in blessing to men characterised that one day from morning to night. As was afterwards said, He “went through [all quarters] doing good, and healing all that were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10: 38).
Darkness now settled on the city, and quietness reigned in the streets of Capernaum. How many must have lain down that night, their bodies at ease from racking, torturing pain! But there was no long night of rest for the Lord, for we read that “rising in the morning long before day, he went out and went away into a desert place, and there prayed” (v35). Ever the perfect servant, he sought instruction from His God and Father. After all the display of power, He was thus proved to be a dependent man. Soon the morning came, and inquiries were made about the Lord, for not even Simon, under whose roof He had been, knew what had become of Him. Having found Him, they tell Him of the favourable impression His works had made: “All seek thee” (v37). To one who courted publicity, it would have been the moment to have returned to Capernaum—and particularly as Luke informs us, “The crowds sought after him, and came up to him, and [would have] kept him back that he should not go from them” (Luke 4: 42). But this was not the Lord’s way and His answer to Simon brought this out: “Let us go elsewhere into the neighbouring country towns, that I may preach there also, for for this purpose am I come forth” (Mark 1: 38).
This then, is just one day, just twenty–four hours of the Lord’s life on earth, commencing with the morning of one day, and going on to the morning of the next. What a diary entry it was! What a record of a day of real and lasting value! Of course, none of us would even think to compare ourselves with this perfect, dependent, obedient Man—and yet we are also, like Him, placed here, not for the pleasure of ourselves, but for the pleasure of God. I ask again then the question we began with: What would the record and assessment be of each day that we spend here? Let us then “walk carefully, not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5: 15, 16).