Photo courtesy of LoveSingapore
Peter left home to follow Jesus.
But now Jesus leaves the synagogue in Capernaum and co-opts Peter’s home as a new ministry base. The first house church (Mark 2:1).
Peter must have been delighted. He’s reunited with his wife. He’s enjoying his mother-in-law’s cooking again (Mark 1:31). His brother Andrew and his old fishing buddies James and John are there with him too.
Peter practised hospitality before preaching it. But it was not without challenges.
Peter is a family man with a big heart. He opens his home for the ministry of Jesus. Later, in his letter, he urges his readers to show hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). He practised this before preaching it. But it was not without challenges.
There was little or no privacy. Jesus had disciples who needed foot-washing, feeding, and bedding. The sick and demon-possessed were crashing the gates for healing and deliverance. There was no room left even outside the door. Most likely it was Peter’s house that had the roof torn open to let a paralytic down for Jesus to heal him (Mark 2:1-5).
So much for domestic routine! The unexpected and unpredictable were the new norm. If Peter got used to anything, it was soon disrupted.
One morning he wakes up and finds Jesus gone. His management instinct kicks in. He tracks the Lord down and finds Him praying in some desolate place.
Everyone is looking for you, he says, with a hint of impatience.
Peter means well. Jesus is a popular teacher and a charismatic healer. He draws overflow crowds.
But Jesus will not conform to the role of a domestic personal saviour or a townhouse preacher. The Church He builds is a going community: Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out (Mark 1:35-39).
Peter is a born leader. A natural organiser. A man of ideas and initiative. For example, on the Mount of Transfiguration, he proposes three tabernacles. After Easter he initiates the replacing of Judas.
His qualities will serve well in the Church Jesus builds. But for the moment, he doesn’t seem to get it. Do we?
- Following Jesus can be inconvenient. There is a cost. True discipleship calls us out of our comfort zone: our natural inclination for the predictable. The rhythm and routine of daily life. The ease of the familiar. The safe and secure.
In an age of consumer-Christianity, many of us want the blessing and benefit of following Jesus without the inconvenience.
But great things never emerge from comfort zones. Turn to God. Ask Him to deliver us from our twin idols of comfort and convenience – the biggest threat to Christianity in affluent nations like Singapore!
In our bicentennial, the best gift we can give ourselves and future generations is an exceptional Church that follows Jesus radically – whatever it takes! Pray.
- Fathers, will you take the lead? Peter was a family man. He opened his heart and home to the ministry of Jesus at the cost of great inconvenience. Will you model what it means to be a disciple-making family with Jesus at the centre? Why not host an evangelistic cell in your home?
Ask God for grace to break out of your introvert mould and practise hospitality without grumbling.
Pray also for your pastors, elders, cell leaders, missionaries, and others you know who are in Peter’s shoes in one way or another. For them, disruptions are the norm. Often a day off or a quiet evening at home with spouse and children has to be sacrificed to minister to others in need.
Ask God to enable them and all of us to serve the Lord selflessly – with true love and radiant smiles.
- Pastors, will you take heed? Peter was a natural leader. But in spiritual matters, he sometimes got it wrong before he got it right.
The Singapore Church is blessed with many strong leaders. In the spiritual realm, however, our natural strengths can become our greatest liabilities. Ask God to help us get it right the first time, or at least the second time.
Pray: Lord Jesus, Your ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Show us where we have relied more on secular principles and skillsets than on the guidance and gifts of your Spirit. Convict us where we have tried to micro-manage and domesticate You to suit our own systems, structures, and schedules, Singapore-style!
Forgive us our pride and presumption. Help us to see Your Kingdom vision and pursue it with all our hearts. Anoint us to reorder everything to align with your perfect plan for Church, nation, and world.
- Sons and Daughters of Singapore, will you take the next step? The Church Jesus builds is a going community: Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.
Think about the pioneer missionaries who came out of their comfort zones to sow the seed of the Gospel in Singapore. Shall we mark our bicentennial by pledging to go and do likewise? Tell Jesus: Where You lead, I will follow.
Read the devotional from Day 2, July 2: Born to fish here.
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