As you imagine this scene and hear the words Jesus declares about his purpose and mission, what stands out for you?
What are some of the feelings the hearers of this proclamation might have experienced in this moment?
As you follow Jesus into this new year, in what ways might you be a part of his plan to:
Proclaim good news to the poor?
Proclaim liberty to the captives?
Give recovery of sight to the blind?
Set at liberty those who are oppressed?
Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor?
Read Mark 1:16-20
Imagine you are one of those called by Jesus to “follow me”.
What do you feel as you hear his words addressed to you?
What draws you to follow Jesus?
What fears arise within you?
End your prayer time by bringing all these feelings and thoughts to God. Entrust this new year to him. Reaffirm your need for his Spirit and strength to guide and help you as you follow him. Recommit to depend on him as you step out into the uncharted waters of the future.
Keep your eyes on him as you pray this prayer of commitment and intention:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Read through this passage, keeping in mind the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus, who as a child grew up as one who was conceived out of wedlock.
Ponder these questions with the Lord in prayer, journaling your responses:
What must it have been like to grow up among the whispers, condemnation and ridicule of others?
What do you think God’s words, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased, “ meant to Jesus?
How do you think they made him feel?
What are the words you long to hear from God? Spend some time listening for the still small voice of God.
Pondering where your God may lead you in this coming year, pray this prayer as a reminder of God’s purposes for you:
God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good, I shall do His work.