On your Mark
Into the street
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all
the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus
healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he
would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. (Mark 1:32-34,
On Feb. 9, 1958, a 26-year-old Assemblies of God pastor in a
rural Pennsylvania town watched late-night television while his wife and small
children slept. “How much time am I spending in front of the TV each night?” he
asked himself. “A couple of hours at least. What if I sold the TV set and spent
that time praying?”
Next day he and his wife placed an ad, agreeing between
themselves to sell the TV if a buyer appeared within 30 minutes of the
newspaper landing on their doorstep. At 29 minutes, the TV sold.
Sixteen days later, while praying late in the evening, the
young pastor’s eyes focused on an issue of LIFE Magazine nearby. After
resisting the temptation to interrupt his prayers, he finally picked it up with
this question, “Lord, is there something You want me to see?” On pages 30 and
31 he found the answer — a sketch drawing and a story of seven young New
York City gang members on trial for the brutal murder of 15-year-old Michael
David Wilkerson, the young pastor, began weeping for these
lost boys. Two days later he was in New York City, a place he had never been
before, and his appearance in the courtroom that day opened the door for
ministry to gang members. Soon, Teen Challenge was established. Over the past
five decades multiplied thousands have experienced the deliverance of Jesus
Christ from addictions, life-controlling problems and bondage.
David Wilkerson simply followed the pattern of the Lord
— he went into the street. The people who met Jesus in the street at
sundown had not been to the place of worship that day, the synagogue; nor had
they been inside the home of Peter because it was too small for them all to
Indeed, the opening paragraphs of Mark’s Gospel show us that
Jesus is present in the house of worship, in the home, but also in the street.
That’s where His activity is today. The street is where His people must carry
His presence as well.
It’s not enough just to be gathered in the church. Nor can
we just keep Jesus in our home. He is looking for the wider venue — out
in the public place where people are needy and hurting.
Picture the citizens of Capernaum. They waited until the
Sabbath was past, and now with clay lamps illuminating their faces they
gathered outside the door of the home where Jesus was present. For the first
time in many years, the broken in body and spirit, the brokenhearted, had hope.
There’s hope when Jesus is in the street!
That’s where we must be as His people, for we are His body.
We are called not only to be gathered, but also to be distributed.
One demoniac was healed in the synagogue and one sick
mother-in-law was healed in the home (Mark 1:21-31), but many were healed and
delivered in the street. It’s the same today. Yes, there are results in our
church worship services — people coming to Christ. But, if we want to see
many come instead of the few, then as Christ’s followers, we too must be out in
GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies
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