“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.” Luke 4:42a
After spending a December weekend in New York City I have a new appreciation for the crowds Jesus experienced, being surrounded by multitudes most of the time. While on the streets of New York there were throngs of people everywhere. It was exhausting! Even so, Jesus purposed to move from one crowd to another showing Himself to be “The Holy One of God.” (Luke 4:34) However, He didn’t have a nice hotel room as a retreat like we did.
In Luke 4:23-29 Jesus is speaking in His hometown of Nazareth when the audience tries to kill Him. He then leaves for Capernaum to teach yet another crowd of people where He frees a man from demon possession. After that, Jesus left the synagogue to rest at Peter’s house but found Peter’s mother-in-law was sick so Jesus took the time to touch her as well. However, by sunset there was another swarm of needy people at the house.
Jesus was pressed, busy, sought after and needed but verse 42 starts with, “At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.” Oh what a joy to know that Jesus needed His time alone with God and that it is not only okay but necessary for us to make time to rest and pray. The end of verse 42 tells us that it wasn’t long before the crowds started looking for Jesus again, even trying to keep Him from His mission to “proclaim the Good News to the other towns as well.”
Our LORD and Savior prayed in isolation with His Father and purposed to do God’s will regardless of popular opinion. However, when I pull away many times I say, “I need to decompress.” So, instead of praying I may watch an old movie or the cooking channel. Then, when the crowds come, I wonder why I’m overwhelmed. The reason? My armor is lying on the ground. I ceased to pray in the Spirit and I am weak and vulnerable. In essence I become spiritually dehydrated and have nothing to offer that will quench the thirst of those seeking Jesus. Furthermore, I lose track of my purpose. What is God’s will for this day? How will I know if I refuse to take the time to ask?
In His wisdom the LORD brings crowds into our lives so we may pour out what He pours into our hearts. He also gives us opportunity for quiet times of rest to pray and be refreshed. This is when we are ministered to by Him, being filled with His Spirit, loved on and equipped. Intimacy with Jesus is found in this, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still, quiet, alone, engaged and relaxed. While staring into the eyes of Jesus Christ we are made new. You are the bride of Christ and, just like in marriage, in order to maintain intimacy you must spend time alone with your Bridegroom so you know that you know that you know that you are not alone!
Like rushing water the sidewalk still
For throngs of souls make way.
Rumbling through the waves.
The River of bodies bobs up and down
Hits rocks and brush of stone.
Rushing here and there and nowhere at all
Yet they are all
Marlene McKenna 12/26/2015