Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
After leaving the synagogue, Jesus walks to Simon's house and dismisses his mother-in-law's fever with a simple command. I love how she hops right up to serve the people in the house. I can imagine any southern woman reacting the same way, "Oh thank you Jesus! Can I get you some sweet tea? A piece of cake?" No mention is made of the fact that Jesus is healing on the Sabbath, thereby "working" and "breaking the Sabbath". At this point people still seem excited and amazed by his miracles.
As the sun set and the Sabbath ended, devout Jews were free to walk any distance and bring their sick to see this miracle worker. He took time to heal each one of them. The demons had good theology, but they did not respect the title "Son of God". So each time Jesus rebuked them, not needing their witness. Their truth was a crooked truth, meant to shortcut Christ's winding path to Calvary. Jesus did not need vast crowds of revolution seekers, he desired only those who truly were willing to follow at any cost.
In spending time alone in prayer, Jesus models true ministry for his followers. Ministry, no matter how spectacular or effective, is not a true ministry of God if it is not steeped in prayer and led by the Holy Spirit. In choosing to limit himself to human form, Jesus needed time to "recharge his spiritual batteries" throughout his ministry. This is especially seen before or after spiritual battles, large volumes of healing, or times of extended teaching. The crowds driven by their own needs will have no time for solitude and prayer. Nevertheless we must take time from simply "doing good" to spend time personally seeking the face of God.
Although the people in Capernaum begged Jesus to stay and minister there, he was led away by the Holy Spirit. Clamouring crowds, acclimation, and vast needs were not his driving forces. Not content to minister comfortably in Galilee, Jesus followed the Spirit's leading and ministered throughout Judea. We must likewise be open to stay or go as the Lord commands, daily seeking his will for our lives.
You see, Jesus isn’t simply another preacher delivering a sermon, Jesus is the sermon—God’s Word with authority and power in human flesh. He is God’s sermon to the world. He was sent to preach the Good News. It’s the good news that you are pardoned, that your death sentence has been lifted forever. It is good news that gives sight to the blind, that opens the ears of the deaf, that causes the mute to shout out with praise and thanksgiving. It is good news that finds its fulfillment in your hearing, when you hear that God is at peace with you for Jesus’ sake, that your sins are forgiven by His blood, that you are free. - Robert E. Moeller, Jr.