True Rest

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mark 6:31-32 NASB
31 And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
It's difficult for us to imagine Jesus needing rest. I mean, He's JESUS; the Creator of all things and the One through whom all things consist! However, the human Jesus, "the Son of Man" needed times of rest and relaxation. His body became weary and sometimes His thoughts became grieved.  Mental tiredness is as taxing as physical tiredness. In fact, I have found it much more difficult to relax when I'm mentally tired than when physically exhausted.
Usually, in the Summer we begin making plans to take a vacation.  We long for a place to quiet ourselves and renew our energy. However, most of our vacations take more effort than the work from which we are trying to escape! We travel great distances and fill our itineraries with as much as we can in the short time we have. I have often heard someone remark, after taking a vacation, "I had to come back to work so I could get some rest!"
My wife and I just returned from vacation of visiting our family. We traveled approximately 1,000 miles and had a great time catching up with our family. While at our daughters, I had the great idea that we take the granddaughters to a river that is famous for its tubing. So we packed a picnic lunch and headed out for the two-hour trip to the river. We rented the tubes and walked the fifteen minute path to the landing. Things got exciting right off when we saw a water snake while putting the tubes into the river at the dock. They did get into the tubes and I was the last one to 'launch' and they were already drifting further away from me. Therefore, I made the faithful decision to dive into the water and swim to catch up with them and then get into the tube. Have you ever tried to get into a tube on a swiftly running river? It is impossible to get into the tube, so I just kind of 'hung onto it' as they were all laughing at me hysterically. Then the rain storm came! Thunder and lightening and pelting rain, (like the scene from the Forrest Gump movie). We were able to get out at the next landing and decided to eat our picnic lunch while the storm passed. Once we finished lunch, we did however, complete the river trip and all in all had a great time. Then we had the two-hour drive home! It was indeed a day of making memories, but not much of a day for rest.
Mark tells us that after Jesus and the disciples got away in a boat to a secluded place, "The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them" (Mk 6:33). I suspect that you have had such incidents take place in your plans for rest. Some of you know what I am talking about; you try and get away but the problems seem to go ahead of you and meet you at your "secluded destination".
Jesus demonstrates a true rest that is not attached to a secluded place or an Utopian experience. He shows a calm in the midst of chaos. The rest He exhibits comes from His deep abiding relationship with His Father. From this chaotic time, He feeds the multitude with five loaves and two small fishes. This is the only miracle He performs that is recorded in all four Gospels.  He rested in the Belovedness of His Father!
You and I are invited to enter into His rest! He said, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28-29). The writer to the Hebrews also sheds light on this rest in the third and fourth chapters of Hebrews. I will close these musings with his words: "For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest,  Heb 4:10-11 NASB
So if you want real rest then run to Jesus. Cast your cares on Him and rest in His Strength and Spirit.