Chapter OneA Day
in the Life
of the Lord
Some time ago, I asked the women who were attending a
weekend conference where I was speaking to write on a three-by-five-inch
card why they had come and what it was they
were hoping God would do in their lives through the weekend.
"Where does God find you as we start this weekend?" I
Later, as I read the responses to my question, I was amazed
at how many of them sounded alike. Here is a sampling of
what those women expressed:
"I feel I'm out of control sometimes with so many pressures."
"I face too much stress and responsibility."
"I need God to show me how to cope with the stresses at
"I feel like I'm torn in all directions. I want God to show me
how to manage my different `hats' of teacher, mother, wife, and
daughter successfully, and still have time for church work and
"I need to stop worrying about everything. I try not to and
I know I shouldn't, but my worries that I conjure up even disturb
my sleep and dreams."
"I've given myself up to service for about twenty-four
months, and I feel a need to slow myself down and renew
myself, but life gets real hectic."
"With a new baby I need to find the Lord's peace and rest-physically
"I often get overly busy and find my day gone without having
done the things I most wanted to do."
"I am a single person by divorce, and I really am tired."
"I've left a whirlwind at home, and need a renewed spirit to
face all that these coming weeks will hold."
"I want to slow down. I feel as if I'm on a speeding treadmill,
and if I try to jump off I will stumble and fall."
"I need help with my frazzled, frenzied state."
"My busyness has robbed me of my joy."
Do you find yourself relating to any of these feelings? I find
these kinds of responses are increasingly common among the
women I meet. Why do we live such hectic, harried lives? Is
this what God intended for us? And can we actually get off
that speeding treadmill without hurting ourselves (and others)
in the process?
The first chapter of the gospel of Mark gives us a glimpse
into a day in the life of the Lord Jesus. In some respects, this
particular day was not unlike many of the days that you and I
We pick up the account in verse 21:
They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into
the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers
of the law. (MARK 1:21-22)
If you've ever taught a Sunday school class, led a small
group, or taught a Bible study, you know there's a lot more behind
these words than what appears on the surface.
You know that you don't just get up before a group and
teach the Word of God with power and effectiveness apart
from a lot of time spent in preparation-not just preparation
of the notes and the material, but preparation of your heart
I love teaching the Scripture; to me there is nothing quite
like seeing the Word of God penetrate and transform lives. But
the process of preparing to speak is an intense one for me.
I agonize to determine what it is that the Lord wants me to
teach; I wrestle with the passages involved, seeking to understand
what the Scripture really means; I labor to put the material
together in a form that is understandable and meaningful
to the listener.
Throughout the process, I ask the Holy Spirit to search my
own heart, to shine the light of His Word into every nook and
cranny of my life, and to show me where I don't measure up
to the truth I am about to proclaim. Before opening my mouth
to speak, I spend time in prayer, pleading with God for a fresh
anointing of His Spirit on my life and my lips, and interceding
for those who will hear the message. I feel like a runner about
to run an important race-every muscle taut, totally concentrated
on the race ahead.
Then, while I'm actually teaching, there is more energy expended-physically
mentally' emotionally' and spiritually I am
intensely focused, never letting up from my goal-I want the
truth to penetrate every heart; I want every individual to say
yes to God about any issue He is addressing in her life.
When I have finished speaking, the battle is still not over-that
is when the Enemy often seeks to discourage me with
feelings of inadequacy or to tempt me with seeking the praise
of men for my ministry. By the time it's all over, I am generally
depleted and in need of restoration.
So when I read that Jesus began this particular day by
teaching in the synagogue, I know this was not just a casual effort
on His part. The people listened attentively to Him because
they could tell this was not your normal, run-of-the-mill Sabbath
message. Unlike the preachers they were accustomed to
hearing, Jesus spoke with authority and power. We know that
in order for this to be possible, He had spent concentrated
time with His heavenly Father in preparation. As He ministered,
He was being expended on behalf of others.
The apostle Paul said, "I will very gladly spend and be spent
for you" (2 Corinthians 12:15 KJV). That's part of what is involved
in ministering to others, whether in a synagogue, a
Sunday school class, or a house full of little ones.
This was just the beginning of Jesus' day-His work was
not nearly over. Before He even had a chance to finish His
message, there was an interruption in the service. Let's continue
reading in Mark 1:
Just then 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? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!"
"Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" The evil spirit
shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is
this? A new teaching-and with authority! He even gives orders to evil
spirits and they obey him." (MARK 1:23-27)
Here we see Jesus engaged in a battle between heaven and
hell. Everywhere Jesus went during His years of earthly ministry,
the demons of hell were stirred up because He lived and
spoke and ministered in the power and the authority of God.
Obviously this was not some casual, relaxed encounter
with the Enemy This was all-out warfare.
Now, I have never exorcised a demon. And in the course of
an average day, you and I are not likely to have audible or visible
encounters with demons. But God's Word teaches that we
are in the midst of a battle against "principalities and powers"-that
at this very moment there is a cosmic warfare being
waged between heaven and hell. And sometimes, God sends
us right into the front lines of that battle. Many of the people
we encounter and deal with on a daily basis are in the midst of
an intense spiritual battle for their souls, and sometimes we
get caught in the cross fire.
In the course of being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend,
an employee, you will find yourself in the midst of difficult,
strenuous, demanding situations where you have to be alert
to the schemes of Satan and skilled in using the sword of the
Spirit to fight off his attacks. There is a natural drain that is a
part of being God's servant in these situations. Jesus experienced
those moments of intense confrontation with the
powers of darkness.
As a result of this encounter with the demonized man, the
Scripture tells us that "news about [Jesus] spread quickly over
the whole region of Galilee" (v. 28). Try to imagine how that
must have complicated Jesus' life. All of a sudden, people all
over the area wanted Him to come speak at their synagogues
and banquets, wanted to interview Him for their publications,
wanted Him to heal their sick and cast out their demons. They
all wanted a piece of Him. Later in this passage we learn that
the time finally came when Jesus couldn't even stay in the
cities but had to find quiet, remote places where the crowds
couldn't find Him, in order to get time alone with His Father.
Perhaps you have had the experience of ministering to
someone in need-lending a listening ear to a discouraged
young mother, helping out in your child's classroom, preparing
a meal for a family in a crisis, being a youth sponsor on a
mission trip, ministering to a friend's troubled teenager, or offering
biblical counsel to a woman in a shaky marriage. Then
the word spreads that you are available to help people in
need-and all of a sudden, your phone is ringing off the hook
with people wanting your time and help.
Everybody Needs Me!
Well, the service at the synagogue is finally over, and we
feel a sense of relief when we read the next verse: `As soon as
they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the
home of Simon and Andrew" (v. 29).
Whew! Jesus has spent hours giving out and expending
Himself for others. Finally He has a chance to get away with
His friends, away from all the needy people. He gets to go
home, kick up His feet, open up a good book, and relax-maybe
even take a nap. Right? Wrong!
Read on: "Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever,
and they told Jesus about her" (v. 30). Jesus is finally out of the
public eye, back in the safe haven of a friend's home, and even
there, someone needs Him.
Do you relate to any of this as a woman? Do you ever feel
that there is no time, no place where you can totally escape
the demands of other people? If it's not the people at work,
it's your husband; if it's not your husband, it's your children; if
it's not your children, it's the neighbor's children; if it's not
someone else's children, it's your mother-in-law; if it's not
your mother-in-law, it's .
But as we would expect, the serving heart of Jesus comes
out and He makes Himself available to meet the need: "So he
went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left
her and she began to wait on them" (v. 31).
Finally Jesus can close the door and settle in for a nice quiet
evening alone with his friends . "Martha, go see who's
knocking at the door!"
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and
The whole town gathered at the door. (MARK 1:32-55)
I don't know how many people came to see Jesus that
evening, but it sounds like a lot to me! Remember, this is still
the same day-He started early that morning, teaching, casting
out demons, and healing the sick, and now the whole city is
lined up at His door wanting help.
Do you ever feel as if the whole town is gathered at your
door? Maybe it's your bathroom door, and you're just trying
to get three minutes alone without having to answer any
questions-but somebody's knocking on the door, the doorbell
is ringing, the phone is ringing, the oven timer is buzzing,
your three children seem like thirty-three, you feel as if half
the world is sick, and everybody needs you-all at the same
time. You panic: "There's just not enough of me to go around!"
And Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out
many demons. (MARK 1:34)
How Did He Do It?
You wonder, How did He do it? How did He stay sane? How
did He keep His sense of equilibrium? How did He keep meeting
the needs of so many people without falling apart Himself?
We know Jesus was God. But He was also a man-He got
tired; He got hungry; He knew what it was to have crowds
pressing around Him all the time; He knew what it was to
have His privacy invaded. But He kept right on letting the
crowds into His life. He kept on teaching, healing, confronting
the powers of hell-and never a cross or impatient word.
How did He do it?
Besides, He was only given three years on this earth to accomplish
the whole eternal plan of redemption. Talk about a
long "to do" list! Yet He never seemed hurried, harried, or overwhelmed
with all there was to do in a day. Why not? How did
He handle all the stress, strain, and responsibility without "losing
I believe verse 35 gives us the key-not only to Jesus' life
but also to your life and mine, whatever our specific responsibilities
and circumstances may be. That verse begins, "Very early
in the morning ."
I don't know about you-but when I've had a long, draining
day like the one we just read about, I know exactly what I
want to do very early the next morning. Nothing-except sleep!
Now, there's nothing wrong with sleeping when our bodies
need it. But Jesus knew there was something He needed
that next morning even more desperately than His body
needed sleep. He had poured Himself out for countless needy
individuals, and His spirit needed to be replenished. He knew
it would never happen once the crowd woke up, so what did
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up
got up! The Scripture says that Jesus was tempted in every
point as we are, so I have no doubt that Jesus was tempted to
sleep in. But He made a choice to say no to His body and yes
to His Father. He got up. Then He "left the house and went off
to a solitary place, where he prayed" (v. 35).
And He did so none too soon. For it wasn't long before "Simon
and his companions went to look for him, and when
they found him, they exclaimed: `Everyone is looking for
you!'" (vv. 36-37).
However, having just been in touch with His heavenly Father,
Jesus knew exactly how He was to respond to the demands
of the new day: "Jesus replied, `Let us go somewhere
else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is
why I have come'" (v. 38).
Why was this morning appointment with His Father so
crucial to Jesus' earthly ministry among us?
Jesus knew that any power or ability He had to minister to
others was due to the fact that He was "one with the Father." He
knew it was essential for Him to stay connected to His Father,
for that was His Source of life, joy, power, peace, and fruitfulness.
He knew He had to walk in union and communion with
His Father if He was to know and do His Father's will. He had
no other purpose for being on this earth than to do the will of
His Father. So He had no higher priority than to abide in intimate,
unbroken fellowship with His Father, so that He might
fulfill His Father's will.
For Jesus, time alone with God was not an option. It was
not something He tacked on to an overcrowded schedule. It
was His lifeline to the Father. It was not something He could