“And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.”
This message is an invitation from the heart of Jesus our Lord and Bridegroom, who sees the lives we live and longs to fill us up with His refreshing peace and joy! He sees the stresses you face each day and the multiple things you juggle with on your extended ‘to do’ list. He sees the many compartments that fill your life and how you work hard to do the best in every one of them. He sees how drained and weary you feel as the week rushes past you before you have barely begun to live it!
Jesus was always inundated by people who needed His ministry. Wherever He went he was followed by crowds who brought the sick and needy and sought to touch Him. Jesus and His disciples were often rushed off their feet. We are told in these verses that there were so many people coming and going that they did not have a few minutes to even eat a meal. This probably sounds familiar! Even in ministry, it is possible to simply be swept away by the needs and the circumstances that are before us, and place less priority on the fact that time with Jesus is so essential for our survival. After a while we can find that we are laboring and striving in the flesh, while everything we do begins to feel more difficult and exhausting because of a lack of the presence of God. That is why Jesus is saying to us today “Come away with me”! He calls us to seek His presence and spend time with Him because there is no real meaning in anything we do even in the Kingdom if we cannot experience His presence. There is always work and always the needs of others around us, and even Jesus acknowledged this when He said “You will always have the poor with you” (John 12:8, Matthew 26:11). However Jesus was teaching His disciples a valuable lesson, that the desire to please people (or the fear of man) can burn us out if we allow it to set the pace and rule our lives. There is nothing more important than His Presence. He makes everything else possible when we spend time with Him!
In the verses prior to these (Mark 6:21-29) we read about how John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. It was a time of shock and grief, and also potential danger for the ministers of the Gospel. Many of us may have thought it the right time to sit down and strategize, and devise an action plan to deal with potential problems that could arise. Jesus’ response was “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while”. We see this amongst the first disciples in the book of Acts. Persecution called them into a deeper place of prayer and worship and thereby, a deeper sense of the Presence. Miracles, signs and wonders, as well as seemingly impossible escapes from jail were all a result of the Holy Spirit moving through their lives. They were filled with the Presence. When the going gets tough and the tough get going, we can get away to spend time in worship and feel His presence. Psalm 46 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”. When in doubt and distress, and faced with some unexpected challenge, turn aside and soak in His Presence – He is our ever present help!
Whatever your need may be, your answer lies in the presence of Jesus! He longs to draw you close to His heart and embrace you as you look into His face. He wants so much to teach you how to lay aside your perfect plans and agenda and the weapons of warfare, and to rest in Him. There is power in His presence, there is joy and peace in His presence. There is healing for body, spirit and soul in His presence. There are deep wounds from the past which can only be healed in His presence as His love flows into those deep crevices which have become hardened over time like stone. There is victory and overcoming in His presence. James 4:7 says “Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you”. When we worship our King and bring our whole life under His Lordship, the enemy loses ground – he has to flee. In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) and strength because “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). In the presence of the Lord we grow and become fruitful. Jesus said “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5). Although it would be sad if we simply sought the presence of Jesus for the power we could have, His anointing is one of the results of spending time in His presence. A fruitful life is a life spent daily in His presence!
Hear the heart of the Bridegroom today in this end time hour, as He urges His Bride to come into His chambers and spend time in sweet intimacy with Him. He says to us from Chapter 2, verse 10 of the Song of Solomon: “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.” He says: “Break out of your complacency, your lethargy, your state of sleep. Break away from religious routine. Rise up my beautiful Bride and decide to seek Me through worship. My heart beats with a passion for you. I am found by those who seek Me with all their hearts (Jeremiah 29:13), and I draw near to those who draw near to Me (James 4:8). I have loved you with an everlasting love. I am drawing you to me with my cords of loving kindness. Let Me show you how I love you. Let me put my arms around you. The time is short. I am coming soon, and I long to light my fire in you!” Hallelujah!
Most of us who confess Jesus as Lord are still to know true fellowship with Him. He is calling you to that higher ground today. He says “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good”! (Psalm 34:8).
Friend, let this day be the beginning of a new season in your life. Fall in love with the Bridegroom once more. Let Him take your hand in His and draw you into the fragrance of His love. He longs to place His thoughts into you. He loves to hear your voice and feel your worship as it creates an atmosphere for His presence to dwell. He loves you and is calling you to come away and spend some quality time with Him. Today, receive His invitation especially for you:
1)Take some “time out” with Jesus.
2)Get away by yourself – just you and Jesus. He called His disciples to come away with Him to a deserted place, away from the crowds so they could focus on Him. (He said in Matthew 6:6 “When you pray, go into your room and shut your door).
3)There will always be hundreds of reasons why you cannot remove yourself from your day and be with Him, but decide to give Him that time and re-order your agenda. (Let Jesus be your agenda today!) Lose yourself in the wonder of His presence – He is waiting for you with open arms!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 14 October 2012