“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 6:31
One can only imagine the level of activity that surrounded the ministry of Jesus. During the time of His greatest popularity, the crowds may at times have numbered in the tens of thousands. Many would bring countless people to Him, for healing and help. Dealing with the demonized and the many hours of teaching and preaching would be tremendously exhausting to anyone. Add to that the emotional drain of constant criticism, or loss of friends, rejection, and time away from family. The devastating event that immediately preceded our text was the beheading of John the Baptist. Jesus knew that his disciples needed a rest, and He planned for some time in “a desert place.”
Every person needs times of rest. All of us need to get away from time to time and unwind. The stress level seems to always be increasing. The demands on our energy and time in this generation are obvious. Times of solitude are a necessity. That solitude should include times of spiritual refreshment. The Lord promised to restore the weary that come to Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He strengthens those who spend time alone with Him. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30, 31). Every day we should provide some time for Bible reading, meditation, and prayer. Nothing can prepare us for the day before us or help us recover from the pressure of a busy day like those times alone with the Lord.
Another important part of experiencing God’s rest is honoring the Lord’s Day. God made man to work for six days and to rest one day of the week. This principle is being violated more and more with each passing generation. Even professing Christians do not respect the Lord’s Day as a day devoted to worship and rest. It is a decision or choice that we have to make. If the disciples of Jesus needed it, we will as well. We must make certain there is time in our schedules for rest and spiritual refreshing.