This Sunday we continued to focus on discipleship and how as disciples we should find a healthy balance between the rhythm of rushing and resting.
The songs this week were:
- The Lord’s my Shepherd
- Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord
And our readings were: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Our passages begin as the disciples return from the mission Jesus had sent them on last week. These passages are taken from Mark 6: 30 – 34 and 53 – 56. Imagine this, the disciples have had a fantastic mission so many people wanted to hear about the teachings of Jesus from them – they had even been able to heal people. In their excitement things just got better and better on their mission. They can’t wait to get back to Jesus to tell him everything that has happened. You can imagine the noise as they arrive all talking at once in their excitement wanting Jesus to hear their story. But as the disciples arrive back other people are arriving too, and it becomes even more difficult to talk with Jesus. The disciples are hungry and tired they haven’t even had a chance to eat, but Jesus sees how exhausted they are so he suggests that they all go and find a place away from the crowd to talk, rest and eat. They all get into a boat and set out on lake Galilee to find a place of solitude. Psalm 23 reminds us that the Lord is my Shepherd. The sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance and protection, Jesus is the one who knows the ‘green pastures’ and the ‘quiet waters’ he is the one who will restore us. We can only reach these places of rest through Jesus, and even when we have to walk through the darkest of paths in life there is only one person who can walk with us, who can bring us safely through the other side and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus and the disciples went to find rest and I am sure we can all relate to having good intentions to rest when something happens to distract us, as Jesus and his disciples land at the other side of the lake they find the crowd has followed them. When Jesus see’s them his heart is filled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. As we see in Psalm 23 the Good Shepherd protects and cares for the sheep, these people had no one to guide them, to care for them, to protect them. Jesus knew he was the one who could teach them, guide them and help stop them from straying away from God, bring healing and refreshment into their lives. Of course Jesus knew the importance of rest and prayer; if you continue to read through Mark 6 you will see in verse 46 Jesus goes up into the mountains to pray. Jesus is our shepherd, it is important that we do find a healthy balance between rushing and resting and I do believe we can find Jesus in both, as we rush and as we rest. For those of us who really need rest Jesus invites us to come to him, and he promises us that he will give us rest.
Matthew 11: 28 – 30