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Monday, 27 January 2014

Come apart and rest a while.

Mark 6:31 records these words of Jesus to His disciples after a very busy and somewhat stressful day. Nazareth had rejected the "Carpenter's son and as such had displayed thei total unbelief and disregard for God's gift of salvation. John (Jesus' cousin and His forerunner) had been murdered. It is not clear whether Jesus had heard the news at that time but we must never forget that He is God the Son and as we see from other passages was fully aware of the issues of life due to His divinity (which He never gave up: Jesus is, was and always will be the Divine Son of God!) Therefore Jesus knew that His cousin and co-worker in the gospel had been killed. It must have been a difficult day for Jesus. Those of us who have experienced rejection and the grief of a member of the close family dying know how the human emotions react at such times. Even though Jesus was fully Divine at all times He was equally 100% human apart from being sinful as we are. He experienced all of life's emotions as we do yet in a way more perfectly because they are not masked by sin's filter. There is no doubt that Jesus was hurting on that day. Later on when He saw Mary and Martha in grief over the death of Lazarus Jesus wept with the sisters. We can therefore believe that this was a difficult day for Jesus.

The disciples themselves had been evangelizing in and around the area. They had returned full of the stories of their day's events. They were keen to tell all to Jesus and to chat about how ell they had done. Can you believe it they had healed the sick, cast out demons and all!!! They are becoming very important people, we can feel pride coming on! That day was a good day for them, they were clearly tired from their work but excited to have accomplished what they had done. In all of this we can see pride and arrogance coming on and so Jesus called them aside to rest a while.

Again whilst on holiday in yet another sea front cafe I was fascinated by the owner of the cafe who spent most of his time gesturing to passers by (often without word's). He was inviting them in to come aside and rest a while. I was impressed at how he could get the attention of a passer by, invite them in, sit them down and show them his menu without speaking. Then when he did speak he was so proud of his fayre that one could not help but partake of at least the coffee on offer. I know this is true because I was one charmed by his approach.

I could not help but see in all of this the "evangelist."    He is the one who knows the place of quiet, that Jesus was inviting His disciples to on that tiresome day. Evangelist knows the fayre that is on offer in that place of rest and he is also the one that encourages his client to feast on all that is to offer. Of course evangelist shows the cross and the way of salvation found in Christ alone. That is exactly what Jesus was doing on that day with His disciples.

They had been telling others of salvation that was on offer through their friend Jesus and now they were about to experience how much more there is to the ministry of the Son of God. He came to bring a whole orbed salvation that is so extravagant that only the mitaculous feeding of an impossible crowd could begin to demonstrate how broad and high and deep is the love of God found through His Son.

The disciples were tired, they wanted to tell all that THEY had accomplished and Jesus included 5000 men and probably others also. He wanted to teach, they wanted to gloat. They wanted to be alone with Him; after all He hadinvited them to a quiet place and their space had been invaded by the crowd. They wanted to be lone with Him but He was enjoying being with them all. At thier ealiest opportunity they tried to advise Him to send them away. They in effect shot themselves in the foot and found that ministry was piled upon ministry. They had just been evangelists (very important don't you know!) and now they were expected to be servants and to feed the people. How humbling that experience was.

My thought go back to that cafe owner in Tenerife, he was not too proud to tell all that his wares were on offer and would benefit them. He was not too proud to approach people and invite them in, he was not too lofty to serve his customers because that was his calling  within his business.

The great lesson that the disciples were to learn on that day was that being a disciplw of Jesus is an all embracing ministry that includes at times being a mouthpiece but also a servant who is willing to serve God's people in whatever capacity that He directs. The preacher, pastor, elder, deacon, evangelist, worship leader, youth worker and infact all Christians would do well to remember that. Just consider the next time when you have been labouring for the Lord and are ready to tell all of your so important conquests: He may jus ask you to ga and extra mile and in your exhaustion do mighty works of service for Him on top of your already full schedule.

Our role is to be like the cafe owner and say to all that we can "come aside and rest a while and find peace for your soul!" That is our life's work for Jesus.   


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