Posted on July 3, 2013
#9: R & R With Purpose
I’m so glad you’re back for another post of our study on Mark. We’ve set out to know Jesus as the living Word, who “speaks” or expresses God in a way we can understand. (See the first blog in this series.) The best way to know God is to know Jesus. Let’s find out more. Get your Bible ready!
Read Mark 1:35-39.
Jesus had spent a busy evening with the people of Capernaum. He’d healed and cast demons from many of them. The excitement among the townspeople was at fever pitch. As thrilling as it was from a spiritual standpoint, the physical side of Jesus was exhausted. We would have been desperate for a long night’s sleep—but Jesus knew where real rest was found.
Well before daybreak on Sunday morning, He slipped off for time with His Father. I’ve often wondered what Jesus’ quiet time was like! Alone in the hills with God, did His true glory shine as it would at the Transfiguration (Mk. 9)? Did angels surround Him, pouring comfort and strength over Him? Or was He simply praying as we might, reviewing scripture and absorbing power to carry Him through the day ahead?
Whether what happened in those hills was natural or supernatural, Jesus knew it was essential. He needed to be with the Father. Several times we see Jesus drawing back from the strenuous demands of His life to have purposeful time with God. (See for example Matthew 14:13, 23 and Mark 6:46.) Luke 6:12 tells of Jesus spending all night praying before beginning a hectic day.
When we want a break from life’s pace—a vacation, sabbatical, retreat—we’re looking for fun and relaxation. We don’t bother finding a church to attend on Sunday, let alone spending extended time in prayer or in the Word. “Jesus spent all night, praying?” The idea is so foreign to us that we can’t imagine feeling rested after such a night—or having enough to pray about to last all night. Most of us can’t last an hour. This definitely isn’t our usual concept of “R & R”.
The catch is that we return to our lives no stronger than when we left them. Our stress level rises the closer to home we get. We sigh, “It was nice while it lasted.” On the contrary, Jesus came back recharged, fresh—empowered. For lasting renewal, we’d do well to consider His style of R & R.
By the time Peter and the other disciples located Jesus, He was ready to move on to equally strong demands in other towns of Galilee. He knew why He was here (vs. 38b) and stayed focused on His mission.
There would come a Sunday morning when Jesus would rise before daybreak, leaving an empty tomb. From then on, Sunday mornings would be for His followers times of worship and renewal. How do you spend your Sunday mornings? Being recharged for the demands of the upcoming week? Or sleeping in? Understand where real rest is found! When life is consuming you, follow Jesus’ example; go to the Source of strength for power—true R & R.
Note: One way we draw strength and build our faith is from the written Word of God. That’s why these studies encourage you at the start to pick up your Bible. If you’ve read today’s post without looking up the scriptures mentioned, will you go back and read it again with Bible in hand? My words are not inspired; His are. His Word has the power to encourage and refresh you. Read it!
What Do You Think?
What best recharges your spiritual batteries when life has drained you?
In the summer, lots of us plan vacations. Have you ever taken a vacation for your soul—R & R with purpose? Tell us about it!
© Diane McLoud 2013