“In those days Jesus… was baptized by John in the Jordan. When he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’
“The Spirit immediately drove him into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan…
“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew… casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Going on, he saw James and John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat… and followed him.
“They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit [who] cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!..’
“Immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them…
“And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.'” Mark 1:9-13a,16-25,29-31,40-42
Mark’s movements and writings are wired with a sense of urgency, and as he recorded, Jesus never wasted time. At the moment of our Savior’s baptism, His Heavenly Father approved, then whisked Him toward temptation. Upon commencing His public ministry, His calling of the disciples was immediately effectual, His teaching was met with prompt opposition, and His word brought instant healing. Jesus lived and breathed on a mission, and everything He did, everywhere He went, every word He spoke, had immediate effect.
Urgency has its right place, and its dangers. The immediacy of exhibition and action following the Lord’s word portrays its (and His) power. Prompt, unquestioned obedience honors God’s authority and benevolent intentions. But hasty action apart from thought, or quick reactions to conniving opposition or temptation, pose pitfalls even to the well-meaning. It’s vital we stride in the Lord’s flow and schedule, whether at fast clip or measured plod. Adjusted to His clock and tempo, we are able to hear and act at His behest, with immediate alignment and grace.
What early-morning disciplines will calibrate us aright for the day? How quickly, and with what vigor, do we appropriate God’s word, in both resistance of evil and obedience?