22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.Matthew chapter 14, verses 22 and 23; from the New Living Translation (NLT)
Sometimes you just gotta get away from it all; all of it! And this is exactly what me and Debbie are doing this week. We are at Pensacola Beach, Florida for the rest of the week. WHAT?????? With the mess our culture is in and the mess in the United Methodist Church, you’ve gone AWOL? Missing in Action? Yes, Virginia, I’m on vacation–but I’m not AWOL, nor am I missing in action. The Master gave me a week’s pass and I’m taking advantage of it!
Look carefully at today’s story. Jesus had been teaching all day. Fixed lunch for thousands of people. Taught some more. Then notice what He did. BEFORE He pronounced the benediction and sent the crowd back home, He MADE the disciple get in that boat! This tells me they didn’t want to leave. He MADE them get in it. I would imagine it was like trying to get first graders get in a straight line and be quiet. Difficult task to do. And I imagine that when He pushed that boat away from the shore, He breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, they’re gone! So He turns his attention back to the crowd. Pronounced the benediction, and sent them home.
Another sigh of relief! Now, take notice and pay careful attention to what Jesus does next! He gets away from EVERYTHING! In case you missed it, I’ll say it again: JESUS GOT AWAY FROM EVERYTHING! Just Him and Dad. No lesson plans to give to the disciples. No great messages for the crowds. No miracles. None of that! For a season, Jesus withdrew. Were there still things to do before His death? Absolutely! Were there miracles still to be performed? Yep! Did He need to spend time with the Disciples to prepare them for what was ahead of them? You betcha! Still. . .Jesus got away from it all.
And what about you? Do you take time to get away from it all? No, not for just a few minutes. But really get away from it all? Think about it: could Jesus have still done everything He needed to do without that away time? Absolutely! But remember–Jesus is modeling for us the life that God is offering us. He’s showing us how to live–even in the midst of so much chaos and turmoil. Don’t you think there was chaos and turmoil when The Master walked this earth as one of us? Sisters and brothers, in times like these, follow the example of Jesus and remember: SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOTTA GET AWAY FROM IT ALL! And that’s exactly what we are doing!