Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Do You Need Rest?", A Closer Look by Reggie Koop

Do you need rest?

Key Scripture: “And the apostles gathered together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” – Mark 6:30-31

Remember back in verse 7 of this chapter, Jesus sent out the twelve. In verses 12-13, they preached, cast out devils, and healed people.

  • “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;” – Mark 6:7
  • “And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” – Mark 6:12-13

Can you imagine how excited these twelve apostles must have been when they came back? Imagine the stories they must have told. They would have been excited to report to Jesus and their fellow disciples, probably comparing notes. They had seen Jesus work these miracles and were amazed. They were probably more amazed that they were doing the same things on their own.

But they weren’t on their own. God’s power was within them. 

Looking at the first part of verse 30, we see that “the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus.” This shows us that in the midst of the business and the busyness, they were still accountable to Jesus alone. As the disciples had greater demands, their need to be alone with Jesus was greater. Even Jesus knew it was important to be alone with His Father.

“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” – Mark 6:31

Does that last part sound familiar? Remember Mark 3:20? “And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.”

What is interesting here is Jesus calls his disciples to a desert place. Not to a home, not to a motel, not to an oasis, but a desert place. The desert place was probably on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was not a desert; the expression means “a deserted place, a wilderness.”

After the stress and strain of their preaching tour, the disciples needed to rest a while. They should not have expected to rest long, but could only catch their breath before getting back to work.

Like the disciples, we also need rest. Remember, Jesus is always concerned about our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs.

Let’s look at two other interesting verses. 

  • “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.” – Mark 6:45
  • “And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.” – Mark 6:53

Bible scholars are uncertain about the location of Bethsaida and if it is identical with Bethsaida Julias, a city northeast of Capernaum, built by Philip the Tetrarch. Some scholars conjecture the existence of a western Bethsaida as a kind of fishing suburb of Capernaum, distinguishable from Bethsaida Julias. The other area mentioned in these verses is Gennesaret. Also called Gennesar, it is a fertile plain about one mile wide and three miles long on the northwest corner on the Sea of Galilee.

The disciples set out for Bethsaida but arrived at Gennesaret. Mark does not explain why the boat came to Gennesaret rather than Bethsaida. One explanation is that the disciples set out to cross the bay and were blown off course towards the sea. This would take them to the western shore at Gennesaret.

Has your life ever been blown off course?

Maybe your life was blown off course by a literal storm. Maybe you were traveling and had to take a detour. Maybe you were pursuing a particular job but that door was closed and you ended up with a different job. Or perhaps you wanted to locate to a particular part of the country and ended up living in a different place. Whatever the situation that turned your life in a different direction, you may have found out why, later in life.

Remember that God is in control. Remember that He cares about your physical, mental, emotional, and especially your spiritual needs!

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