How would you describe the life and work of Jesus during his three-years of ministry here on earth? What were some of the things that he was doing on a regular basis?
What were some of the regular activities on Jesus’ calendar?
In his Gospel, Matthew often gives short descriptive summaries of what Jesus taught or what he was doing in order to help his readers maintain a big picture view of Jesus’ identity and mission. In one of those summaries, Matthew gives us a description of Jesus’ ministry in the region of Galilee, and he lists three things that were regular activities on Jesus’ calendar.
In 4:23, Matthew writes:
And Jesus went throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.
These are three things that Jesus did on a regular basis, and they are three things that the first followers of Jesus continued to do after he left. This means that it is important for us that we understand each of these activities and see how they are regular activities that should also be on our calendars today.
Teaching in Synagogues
The first regular activity on Jesus’ calendar was teaching in synagogues. This was formal times of teaching and explaining the Scriptures to a congregation or a small gathering. Synagogues were the places where Jewish people met to worship God, and these places were scattered all over Israel. And so Jesus would regularly attend these worship gatherings to teach from the Old Testament and to explain how his life and ministry was fulfilling the Scriptures. (There is a fantastic example of him doing this in Luke 4:16-20.)
Formal times of gathering with other people to learn and to teach the Scriptures should be a regular activity on our calendars today. This can take place in the context of a church service, Baseball Chapel or a small group, but it is a type of teaching and learning that is meant to be done in the context of a gathering. Reading on our own and listening to podcasts are great supplements to our study of the Bible, but Jesus intends for us to regularly read, learn, study and teach the Scriptures in the context of being with other people.
This is something that the first followers of Jesus embraced from the very beginning (Acts 2:42), and something that needs to be a regular part of our weekly routine as well.
Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom
The second regular activity on Jesus’ calendar was proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. This was more informal times of interacting and talking to others about the kingdom of God. Jesus looked for opportunities to talk about what God was doing with those who were unfamiliar with his message. This was something that Jesus did in the context and rhythm of his everyday life, but he did so through pursuing intentional conversations with those that he encountered.
Informal times of intentional conversations about the kingdom of God should be a regular activity on our calendars today. Many people are unfamiliar with or confused about the life, work and teachings of Jesus. Therefore, as ambassadors of King Jesus, we should be actively seeking opportunities throughout our week to spark conversations with others about who God is, what he’s doing, how it’s changed our lives and how he can change theirs. Being a Christian is not something that we can privatize or compartmentalize; Jesus expects us to tell our families, friends, neighbors and teammates about the kingdom of God.
This is something that the first followers of Jesus embraced from the very beginning (Acts 28:31), and something that needs to be a regular part of our weekly routine as well.
Healing Every Disease and Affliction
The third regular activity on Jesus’ calendar was healing diseases and afflictions. This included healing people physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Jesus took time to care for people that were hurting and helpless. This was another thing that Jesus did in the context and rhythm of his everyday life, but it was also something that he did to teach others about the true nature and plan of God. He didn’t heal everyone who needed help, but every time he did, he used it as a way to demonstrate the love of God and that he was the promised King who was restoring God’s order and goodness back to the world.
Caring for those in need and taking the time to help put people’s lives back in order should be a regular activity on our calendars as well. We are surrounded by people who are hurting and in need of some physical, mental, emotional or spiritual help. Therefore, as image-bearers of our Creator, we should be actively seeking opportunities throughout our week to bring order out of chaos. We should listen to people and speak words that bring healing. We should keep our eyes open for needs that we can meet. And we should care for those who are hurting and pray to God with them on their behalf. We can’t help everyone who needs help, but we can take time to care for someone. Let’s care for others and use those moments to show them the true nature and plan of God.
This is something that the first followers of Jesus embraced from the very beginning (James 5:14-16), and something that needs to be a regular part of our weekly routine as well.
Do you have formal times of gathering with other people to learn and to teach the Scriptures?
Do you have informal times of intentional conversations with others about the kingdom of God?
Do you have times of caring for those in need and praying with them on their behalf?
These are three things that Jesus and his first followers did intentionally and often, and they are three activities that should be a regular part of our weekly rhythms and routines today.
Which of these three is the most consistent in your own life? Which of these three is lacking? And what changes can you make in your life and your regular routine to begin living each week like Jesus lived his?