Sabbath School Lesson for July 6-12, 2024

Overview of Lesson 2, A Day in the Ministry of Jesus

Memory Text: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ ” Mark 1:17 NKJV

The second half of Mark’s first chapter reveals a typical day in the life of Jesus during His ministry. His days were spent gathering and training disciples, teaching in the synagogues, visiting the homes of His friends, healing the sick. And, to fuel all this evangelism, He managed to reserve hours of private prayer time with His Father.

Other Gospel writers concentrate on just one of these activities to introduce His ministry.

  • Matthew, for example, has Jesus calling His disciples, and then preaching His signature Sermon on the Mount.
  • Luke, on the other hand, presents Jesus’ teaching in His hometown of Nazareth, which resulted in His unexpected rejection there.
  • And, John, pictures Him calling disciples and performing a miracle at a wedding in Cana.

Mark’s emphasis on action-packed adventure, especially involving miracles of healing and casting out demons, might be expected of a follower of Jesus so young. In all, the Gospel of Mark provides a comprehensive description of Jesus’ itinerant ministry, one that has significantly changed the world for all time.

We will explore these topics during the week:

  • Sunday: “Follow Me”–What attracted His first disciples to follow Him?
  • Monday: An Unforgettable Worship Service–Why were people so amazed at the synagogue in Capernaum?
  • Tuesday: More Sabbath Ministry–What can we learn about how Jesus healed the sick?
  • Wednesday: The Secret of Jesus’ Ministry–Why is praying to God so important to us, and those we serve?
  • Thursday: Can You Keep a Secret?–Why was it hard to keep Jesus’ identity a secret, and why did Jesus sometimes request silence from those He healed?

Sunday: “Follow Me”

It must have been thrilling to young Mark that, seemingly, the first men Jesus found to join His ministry were strong, physically-active, common laborers like the fishermen–Andrew, Simon, James, and John.

These two sets of brothers may have been fishing partners working their nets together by the Sea of Galilee, when they were captivated by the unusual invitation of Jesus to become fishers of men.

Luke 5:1-11 provides the added details of a miracle that day. Jesus, after speaking to a crowd from one of their boats, told Simon to go out into the deep and cast their net again. Simon Peter expressed doubt, because they had fished all night and had caught nothing, but they, nevertheless, did as Jesus suggested.

After catching so many fish their net was about to break and their boat sink, Jesus announced that if they followed Him, they would become fishers of men.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Mark 1:16-20

  • What did Jesus mean by saying they would become “fishers of men”? In what way would that invitation appeal to these fishermen?

Luke 5:1-11

  • How do you understand Peter’s statement about wanting the Lord to depart from him? What was he really saying about Jesus, and himself?

Monday: An Unforgettable Worship Service

The next verses in Mark 1:21-28 describe one of the ways Jesus reached the people. He taught in their synagogues. It was the kind of teaching that got attention, because His words seemed to carry so much authority.

People were amazed at His understanding of Scripture. Of course, the One who inspired the Scriptures would naturally be the best one to interpret them.

Mark then told us of a man with an unclean spirit, who cried out forcefully in the synagogue at Capernaum, asking Jesus to leave, because he knew this new Teacher was “the Holy One of God”.

When Jesus told the demon to come out of the man, he was instantly silenced, astonishing those in their worship service. Jesus even had authority over Satan’s demonic angels.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Mark 1:21-22

  • What kind of authority did Jesus have when He taught in the synagogue?

Mark 1:23-24

  • Why were the demons who possessed the man so afraid of Jesus?

Mark 1:25-28

  • What caused the increase in Jesus’ fame around Galilee? Why did people want to hear and be near Him?

Tuesday: More Sabbath Ministry

Sabbath keepers, even today, enjoy gathering in the homes of friends for a meal and fellowship after the worship service. Jesus, likewise, went to the home of Peter and Andrew, along with James and John, after worshiping in the synagogue one Sabbath.

Their hearts sank when they discovered that Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Back then, a fever often led to death, so it was with anxiety that they gave Jesus the sad news. Jesus, out of love and mercy, quickly came to her, took her hand, healing her at once. Happily, she was well enough to help serve their meal.

By sunset, when the Sabbath hours were over, word had spread about Jesus’ miracle in the synagogue. There was a great gathering of those who were sick or demon-possessed outside Peter’s door.

Jesus was especially quick, Mark reports, to heal those who were demon-possessed; because those demons, like the one in church that Sabbath, would noisily reveal who He was, and it wasn’t time for that news to get out. His ministry needed to continue unheeded by those who would eventually cut it short by crucifying Him.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Mark 1:29-30

  • What does this healing tell us about Jesus, and what does it tell us about ourselves when we are sick?

Mark 1:31-34

  • Was it selfish of the people to come to Jesus for the purpose of healing?
  • Why does healing, or the need of it, fill us with a desire to be near God?

Wednesday: The Secret of Jesus’ Ministry

Mark, who seems so eager to share the action-packed episodes of Jesus’ ministry, does not neglect to tell us about His solitary prayer life that empowered everything He did. Mark 1:35-39 noted that Jesus rose earlier than anyone, long before daylight, in order to have distraction-free time to converse with His heavenly Father.

Their Master regularly separated Himself from the disciples for His prayer time, which caused them to search for Him at first, no doubt worried about His safety. “But He said to them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.’ ” (Mark 1:38)

God gave His Son directions on a daily basis, which fueled His earthly ministry, giving Him strength and courage to face each new day. See also Matthew 14:23 and Mark 6:46.

The subject of one of those prayers was recorded by John in his seventeenth chapter. Jesus prayed for Himself, His disciples, and finally for all believers. This prayer model is useful for showing us how we, too, must pray for those close to us and those farther away, not forgetting to pray for ourselves that we will be like our Lord and Savior.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Mark 1:35-37, Matthew 14:23, and Mark 6:46

  • Why was it necessary for Jesus to find solitary time to talk with God, if He was God?

Mark 1:38-39

  • What kind of messages was God giving His Son during these prayer times?

Thursday: Can You Keep a Secret?

One reason Jesus’ fame spread was because those who were healed just couldn’t keep quiet about it. At times, such as when He healed a man with leprosy, Jesus even directed him to go the priest with the appropriate thank offering and be proclaimed clean, but to speak to no one on the way (Mark 1:44).

The reason for this desired secrecy was revealed in Mark 1:45. When people were too outspoken about their healing, Jesus was prevented from going to certain places where His life might be threatened by the religious and civil authorities.

But, thankfully, God the Father, showed Jesus a way to be safe by staying out of the cities and doing His preaching and teaching in more deserted places. This actually made it possible for larger crowds to gather, showing us that God always finds a way.

Bible Verses to Explore:

Mark 1:40-45

  • Why was Jesus able to touch an unclean leper and not need to go a priest for cleansing, and yet Jesus seems to support the Leviticus requirement for the cleansed leper to go to a priest to be proclaimed clean?

Friday: Final Thoughts

The first chapter of Mark alone paints a portrait of Jesus that shows Him to be someone with…

  • authority (He spoke of the Scriptures as one who knew what He was talking about.)
  • power (He even had power over demons.)
  • compassion (He didn’t hesitate to heal all those who came to Him.)

To enable His ministry to be most effective, the intimate, private prayer life of Jesus was also highlighted as a necessary fuel for His intensely busy, public ministry.

The fact that some people He healed were told not to reveal the source of the miracle informs us that there may be times when we, too, may find it helpful to be quiet about our faith. Maintaining a close connection with God through prayer will show us when and how to express our faith without compromising our witness for God.

To jumpstart or enhance your prayer life, you might consider this tool: “God First Your Daily Prayer Meeting” on the Seventh-day Adventist Church YouTube channel.

Next Week: Controversies

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