Mark 6: 30-31
The apostles gathered round Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’
Matthew 11: 28-29
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Psalm 62: 1; 5
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him....
...Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
"Busy-ness always wars against your awareness of God." (Bill Johnson)
Over the next few days we’re going to look at a miracle which is familiar to most – the feeding of the 5000. Along the way we’ll focus on a few particular aspects of the miracle that we might often overlook.
Mark 6 starts with Jesus returning to his hometown after a busy period of ministry elsewhere. However, instead of receiving a warm welcome, he is rejected by those who knew him as a little boy. Their overfamiliarity with Jesus causes them to treat him with dishonour and they are therefore unable to receive all He came to bring them. The simple principle is this: honour releases favour and life; dishonour locks up the good things God wants to give.
We then read that Jesus sends out his disciples in pairs to preach, heal and cast out demons. In other words, to do everything that they had seen Jesus doing. While they are away, Jesus’ cousin and friend, John the Baptist gets executed by Herod because of his stand for righteousness. This is the same John who leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary was pregnant with Jesus, the same John who later proclaimed that Jesus was the lamb of God, and the same John who baptised Jesus in the Jordan before the Holy Spirit descended on him. Jesus and John were clearly very close. Therefore when Jesus heard this news it would have affected him deeply.
The disciples then return from their mission trip, they’re excited about all they’ve seen and experienced. There’s been a lot happening. It’s in that context that it’s no surprise that Jesus says to his followers,
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (v. 31)
Isn’t that a beautiful verse? I think Jesus would say to some of you who are reading this today. Your life has been busy, perhaps too busy. There’s been a lot of demands on you recently, even more than usual. You’re exhausted - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually - and I sense that Jesus is saying: “Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest. Come and be refreshed by me. Come and be strengthened for the next part of the journey. Come away from the busyness, noise and stress that your life has become. Get some rest and refreshment. I am waiting for you.”
John Ortberg says this:
“The soul craves rest. Our wills sometimes rejoice in striving; our bodies were made to (at least sometimes) know the exhilaration of tremendous challenge; our minds get stretched when they must focus even when tired. But the soul craves rest. The soul knows only borrowed strength. The soul was made to rest in God the way a tree rests in soil… When you give your soul rest, you open it to the peace Jesus intends for you. A rested soul is an easy yoke.”