Spiritual Tenacity 1 - Be Relentless
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Chan Gin Kai
Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. (Luke 4:38-39)
Jesus had just amazed the people in the synagogue with his preaching, and wowed them by casting out a demon. It was a hard day’s work and very fruitful. It would have been perfectly understandable if Jesus had 'closed shop' for the day and celebrated the victory with his disciples. Instead, he decided to go to Simon Peter’s house to heal his sick mother-in-law.
Jesus did not perform the miracles to impress the crowd; his actions emanated from his genuine concern for people. He took care of Simon’s family when they had a need and I believe it played a significant role in helping Simon Peter leave everything to follow Jesus. It was not so much the miracles that impressed Peter, but the assurance that Jesus cares. We can be confident that Jesus knows our concerns, and will care for our needs.
Simon’s mother-in-law went from high fever to high activity in an instant, and started serving everyone. But there was still no rest for Jesus.
At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. (Luke 4:40-41)
While a day in our calendar begins and ends at midnight, a Jewish day goes from nightfall to nightfall. So when the sun had set and Sabbath was over, the people immediately brought “all who had various kinds of sickness” to Jesus. The various kinds would have included the terminal and the trivial, the chronic and the curious. There were those who really required a miraculous cure; but I am sure there were also others with small little ailments that simply wanted to feel the power of a miracle. Jesus healed them all, and cast out more demons too. We don’t know how many hours all of that would have taken, but it must be physically and emotionally exhausting.
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. (Luke 4:42)
As always, no matter how busy or tired Jesus was, he found time away from the crowd to pray. But the crowd went looking for him. And when they found him, they tried to stop him from leaving. It must have been tempting to stay longer where you’re welcomed and well loved. Why go somewhere else where you might be rejected? But Jesus told them about his mission and left to preach to other places.
“I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:43-45)
Jesus was focused on his mission, but not in a goal-driven way. If he were goal-driven, he would have allowed himself rest and basked in glorious celebrations after each victory. Instead, he was motivated by his love for the people.
As long as there were people to heal and souls to save, Jesus pushed on. That’s what gave him the tenacity to persevere through victories and persecutions till he reached his final objective – die on the cross for us. His love for all of us, as individuals, has not stopped. His desire to do all he can to save us still remains.
For those among us who serve as leaders in God's kingdom, we need to develop the same spiritual tenacity that Jesus has. What makes you hesitate or slow down? What makes you hold back and not give your heart? What can you do differently to reach out to the lost and help the weak more effectively? Learn to be relentless.
We are called to love the people around us. We do not have Jesus’ miraculous powers, but we have a lot of other resources to help people. There are countless spiritual needs that are still unmet. We need to be tenacious like Jesus to fulfil what he has called us to do.
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".