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Exemplary Exemplar, Part 1

by | Jun 3, 2018 | Exemplary Exemplar (A Mini-Series), Witnessing

Welcome to an account that would make the first pages of Ripley’s Book of Believe it or not!

Dr. Evan O’Neil Kane was the chief surgeon at Kane Summit Hospital in New York City. He was 60-years old and had been practicing surgery for 37 years. He was especially interested in anaesthetic. You see, he practiced back in the early part of the 20th century, when the only kind of anaesthetic used was general in nature–and it had its complications. Patients were sometimes left paralyzed and on occasion, they died. Convinced that a local anaesthetic would also suffice for certain operations, Dr. Kane tried hard to find a patient willing to undergo surgery under a local anaesthetic. As people are generally resistant to “revolutionary” changes, there were no volunteers forthcoming. Finally he did discover a “patient” who was willing to help him experiment. The patient needed his appendix removed, and he was scheduled for surgery. It was February 15, 1921, a Tuesday morning. The patient was prepared and rolled into the operating room. Kane, who had performed over 4,000 appendectomies, performed the initial cut. He clamped the blood vessels while he located the appendix. He then skilfully removed it as he had done many times before. Through it all, the patient experienced only minor pain, he recuperated quickly and was released from the hospital two days later. Dr Kane had proved his point. It was a milestone in medical history that a person could be operated on under local anaesthetic while still awake.

Oh, by the way, did I tell you who the patient was? Dr. Kane himself! Oh boy…Oh boy…he had operated on himself to prove a point!

This “first practice and then preach” ideology was first outlined in Acts 1:1: “In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began todo and teach…” (NLT). Notice the inspired sequencing of the words, “do and teach“! In other words, long before Dr.Kane personified this ideology, ourLord, the exemplary exemplar, had embodied it by going “the God-honouring ways” Himself first. Take for instance his twin commands of, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matt 22:37, 39-40 NLT). A careful scrutiny of His life would reveal that all along He had been practicing this Himself.

Our Saviour’s life can broadly be divided into three parts: Preparation (at Nazareth); Proclamation (Ministry by and large at Capernaum); and Passion (in Jerusalem). In this Series of two parts, I will endeavour to bring home the truth as to how our Lord diligently went about fulfilling these two commandments in each phase of His life, so that valuable lessons gleaned thereof can be applied in our own lives as well. Of course, the “greater” aim as always is to lead us to a greater realization of His greatness and greater adoration of Him.


Not much is documented about this phase in our Lord’s life, barring some details in the scrupulously-penned Gospel of Luke (See Luke 2:39-52). However, the Heavenly commendation during His baptism, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matt 3:17 NLT) would leave none in doubt that our Lord was indeed fleshing out these two commandments scrupulously during His “preparation” days in Nazareth.

Prayer: Father, help me to always toe my Saviour’s line of first practicing and then witnessing for Your Glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries


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