Spiritual Caesarians

Busy people. The disciples had been running around the countryside teaching and healing. They were overwhelmed with responsibilities and people, and didn't even have time to eat, let alone digest their food. So when Jesus said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest" (Mark 6:31) the chances are at least one of the guys had to stifle a "yippee."

As it happens the devotional thought I read this morning in connection with this passage focused on the importance of taking time to rest, reflect and renew. Amen and amen.

But I had to laugh.

Jesus took His disciples away to a solitary place so that they could rest, reflect and renew. But people saw them, and followed them so that when they got to this solitary place, it wasn't solitary anymore. There were five thousand men there, and who knows how many women and children on top of that.

What would you and I say?

"Sorry, we're on vacation, on retreat, on furlough. Go home and we'll see you next week, same time, same station."

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things" (6:34).

They weren't just being a nuisance, or people who need to soak up information like a sponge but never get wrung out passing that knowledge on. Those people you can tell to come back next week (or not at all). But there was genuine spiritual need here that took precedence over everything else. It was a lesson the disciples needed to learn.

Caesarians are much more common today than they ever have been. Sometimes they are medically necessary. But for the most part they are convenient for the doctors who don't want to drag themselves out of bed to respond to a call at 2:00 a.m. to deliver a baby.

Jesus didn't do spiritual caesarians. He responded to genuine need when it presented itself whether or not it might have been convenient for Him to do so. This was the lesson He taught His disciples that day. It a good one for His disciples today to learn as well.


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