One Day in the
Life of Jesus

[Mark 1:21-39]

What did Jesus do in his "typical working day" of public ministry? John did record four consecutive days of Jesus' life, but all were single-activity days. Only Mark described a fairly typical day in Jesus' ministry life - to set us an example to follow?


Mark chose a Sabbath day in Capernaum. "When the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach" [Mk 2:21], What did teaching in a synagogue of Jesus' time entail? Did it not involve reading a Scripture passage and teaching/explaining what it meant and how to apply it in daily life? Is that what pastors and preachers are doing in church on Sundays?

When Jesus taught, "The people were amazed at his teaching" [Mk 1:22]. Are people amazed when we teach? Do they see something new? Do they find new understanding and meaning in the Bible? Or are they just entertained, or bored?


While Jesus was teaching, "a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?' [Mk 1:23]." Even evil spirits recognised Jesus, And knew that he had the power to destroy them. But Jesus did not destroy them. Why? Was it because the time had not yet come to do so? We really don't know. But Jesus ordered the evil spirit: "Come out of him!" and it did. The casting out of evil spirits soon became very much a part of Jesus' daily ministry. Are Christians not supposed to do this too? Did Jesus not say that, "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in my name they will cast out demons..." [Mk 16:17]?

"As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the house of Simon and Andrew" [Mk 1:29]. So, Simon and his brother Andrew had not gone to the synagogue with Jesus? Probably so, for the next verse says, "Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever." It was a high fever [Luke 4:38], so does all this imply that Simon and Andrew had stayed at home to help look after her?

What did Jesus do when told about the woman's fever? Did he make sympathetic noises or say that he would pray for her? No, he went to her, bent over her, took her hand, rebuked the fever, made her well, and helped her up [Mt 8:14-15, Mk 1:31, Lk 4:38-41]. How's that as an example to us?

After that they had a meal, for the mother-in-law "began to wait on them". "That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed" [Mk 1:32]. Why after sunset? Was it too hot in the afternoon? Or because work was forbidden on the Sabbath, and carrying people was counted as work? And healing on the Sabbath was forbidden by the Pharisees [Jn 3:2]? Here we see again how true the Bible is, even in the little details. Truly, the people came only after the sunset, only after the Sabbath ended.

"Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons" [Mk 1:34]. Jesus generally attended to people individually. It must have taken him quite some time to attend to so many people. Today, faith healers try to heal thousands of people at the same time, or rush off abruptly because they have a schedule. Don't we marvel that some people try to be greater than Jesus, and seem more busy than he was?

Jesus probably rested that afternoon and night; it was the Sabbath. But, "Very early in the morning, while it was dark, Jesus got up, left the home and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed" [Mk 1:35]. Prayer was such an essential part of Jesus' life that he began his mornings with prayer, in a quiet place away from distractions and interruptions, meeting his Father. Shouldn't we do the same?

While Jesus prayed, Simon and others came looking for him and exclaimed, "Everyone is looking for you!" 

Such is the life of a servant of God. Are we making ourselves available at any time to attend to anyone whom God might send our way? Or are we setting aside just one or two days a week, or just a few years of our life, for serving God?

Jesus replied to Simon, "Let us go somewhere else - to the nearby villages - so I can preach there also." After this, we see Jesus going outside his HQ, Capernaum, and traveling further and further afield, into what is now Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Jesus set the standard for evangelism and missions.

So, are we, followers of Jesus, following Jesus and starting our mornings by meeting God in prayer in a solitary or quiet place, and then doing one of more of these: teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, preaching, evangelism, and going out on missions?

 

Introducing TENT 2002 graduates ...

            
One evening the laughter was so loud that we woke the baby who was sleeping in a room down the hallway! Apologies were made later to the parents and everyone was told to turn the volume down. Either the control was missing or these people were conquered by the Queen of Mirth - laughter continued. That was the TENT 2002 bunch!
          Who are these people?
          There is one young lady (we all honoured her as the youngest) who is not so clear yet as to where the Lord is directing her. She knows which sub-continent though! 
          One participant presented the Country project and so impressed us over that a few 'experienced a new calling'! Sure, it is a country with a monotheistic religion, but it is tax-free! The report included a short list of professionals most needed. The best part was that women need not use the veil there. No wonder some eyes shone.
          One couple shared about the country they visited for a 'look see'. The % of believers is unbelievably low.  Such a need and doors are open to professionals. Pray for this couple that the Lord will confirm in their hearts His leading.
          Three other participants know that China is IT. Yet the preparation process is not complete yet, so it will be a couple more years before plans materialize. We heard reports on different parts of this huge country.
          Then there is the one who has visited one of the Indo-China countries, surveyed the situation and needs, written up a report, and is now waiting on the Lord to confirm His directions.
          One participant took part in a combined project as he is not certain yet which country is God's appointment for him. Yet just working on a country study was an excellent learning experience and it was good to be able to join someone else's wagon.
          It was hard work and some days were filled from morning to night. But it must have been fun. They laughed so much and so often through the day! One participant shared with me that the days there at DTC campus were such a refreshing change from the usual work day.
          The presenters were used by God to enrich and equip these participants in various ways and in different subjects. All participants received vocational guidance based on analysis of a test they took prior to the module. All in all, it was a memorable week. Praise God for all His provisions as He prepares yet another batch for His vineyard worldwide.

(Report by Mrs SM Peck)

 

This week's Chapel speaker was Dr. Eileen Poh, lecturer at Discipleship Training College. Dr. Poh spoke on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14).
Our prayers often reveal our real beliefs about God and his purposes. So it was with the prayers of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. We can approach the parable from the perspectives of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (how did they each view themselves?) and from God's perspective (how did he view them both?).
Pharisees have a bad press in Christian preaching today. They are regularly cited as examples of religious legalism. However, this view to some extent misrepresents the facts. The Pharisees had good motives for their scrupulous religious observance: they wanted to see God's kingdom come and believed that law-keeping was the way to bring this about. So here we see the Pharisee showing zeal for God's Law, fasting twice a week and giving a tithe. However, his prayer reveals a less attractive side: it is a thanksgiving which is focussed solely on himself. He is sure that God looks favourably upon him, and he expresses contempt for others who are not like him, including the tax collector standing nearby.
Tax collectors had a bad reputation in 1st-century Judea: they were regarded as traitors and as extortionists who increased the people's burden. This tax collector's prayer is a naked plea for God's mercy: he acknowledges his sin and begs to be forgiven. Even his posture and actions express penitence: he stands at a distance and beats his breast (v. 13).
How does God view each of these men? Jesus concludes that the tax collector, who humbles himself before God, has a truer perception of God than the Pharisee, who exalts himself (v. 14). The Pharisee is deeply mistaken: he lacks mercy, and is contemptuous of others; he does not understand the values of God's kingdom; he goes home believing that God accepts him, but he is not 'justified before God'. By contrast the tax collector is accepted: God sees his sins and yet forgives him. This conclusion would have been shocking to 1st-century Jews: how could God accept a tax collector but not a Pharisee?
We see in this parable two themes that run through Luke's gospel: the grace of God; and the kingdom of God. Jesus, Luke tells us, was something of a party-goer, and he went to parties which some considered disreputable (5:27-31, esp. v. 30). He also went to parties given by Pharisees (chapters 7, 11 and 14), and on each occasion criticised the ways in which his hosts behaved. Taking Luke's gospel as a whole, it seems that tax collectors were eager to associate with Jesus (cf. 19:1-10); and so maybe it is not surprising that the parable in 18:9-14 ends as it does. The verses following tell us that we can only enter the kingdom like little children, by simple faith in God's mercy (18:15-17).

What does the parable say to us today? Firstly, that we too can only enter God's kingdom by his grace and mercy. Secondly, that God's kingdom is open to all who repent, even those we might least expect to respond to God. Thirdly, we must beware of false confidence. We too, are not immune from false ideas about God and ourselves. Even a Christian upbringing can be a source of false confidence. We must learn always to see ourselves as sinners in need of God's mercy. This will help protect us from wrong ideas about God and what is acceptable to him.
The Chapel speakers for subsequent weeks are: Mr Wilfred Leow (4 Dec) and Mr Benny Fang (11 Dec).

 

 

1. Bible Lands Study Tour. Pray for the safety for the 22 participants who are on this tour led by Dr Quek to Turkey & Greece. They will return on 11 Dec.

2.  Christmas at BGST. You are welcome to join us for a time of celebration. As we are having potluck, please call Daisy to confirm what food item you are bringing.

3. Dr Ng Peh Cheng will be teaching 3 days of Vacation Bible School (Dec 10-12) at Woodlands Evangelical Free Church.

4. Concert of French Music. The Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra will be giving a concert of French music at the Victoria Concert Hall on Friday 6th December (public holiday), beginning at 8.00 p.m. The programme will be: Bizet, Suite from Carmen; Saint-Saens, 3rd Violin Concerto; Debussy, Children's Corner Suite; Bizet, L'Arlesienne Suite. Tickets at $12, 17 and 22, with the usual discounts, may be obtained from SISTIC outlets, or from Dr. Satterthwaite.

God's Richest Blessings to our Birthday Stars!

Mr Daniel Ng Keok Tee  2/12
Mr Bernard Chaing Boon Twee  2/12
Mrs Loo Hoi Loon  3/12
Mr Lai Pak Wah  4/12
Mr Chan Kum Soon  4/12
Mr Leong Kok Weng  5/12
Mr Aaron Low Kim Leng  5/12
Mr Daniel Lee Meng Kuan  5/12
Mr Choo Leng Jan  5/12
Mr Kelvin Chan  7/12
Mr Caleb Kang Il  7/12
Mr Timothy Lim Teck Ngern  7/12

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This page is updated on 2 Dec 2002 by Jacob-Tan Lee Pin
    Nov 2002