When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.Matthew 14:13-14
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.Mark 6:30-34
And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.Luke 9:10-11
After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.John 6:1-2
I have a question for you dear reader: When Jesus took the disciples out to the desert for rest, did He know what would happen when they got there?
Of course He did. He is the Son of God!
My point is this. Jesus’ definition of rest is far different than ours.
There are many types of rest that are needed, and I think we can learn from this passage that our Savior knows exactly what kind of rest we need!
The disciples, as I mentioned in the previous devotion, were tired but also anxious to tell Jesus about their first preaching journey. Jesus knew they needed time but He doesn’t take them to an amusement park (although those are not evil), He takes them away from the crowd for just a little bit. Then, the multitudes came around them!
Jesus preaches to the large crowd and heals those in need. When it comes time to eat, Jesus gives a small test of faith to the disciples. They had seen Him perform many miracles including raising people from the dead. Yet now, they have doubts as to how to feed such a great multitude.
All of these events are included in Jesus’ definition of rest. Our service to the Lord should never cease. Therefore, our service to our fellow man should never cease. We may think we need to “take a break” from time to time, and that may be so. But this example shows us that the break is brief and then we should get back to work. The reason this is true is because the promise of true rest is to those who wait upon the Lord. This is more than just patience. It is patience while serving, like a waiter or waitress in a restaurant.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.Isaiah 40:28-21
No matter how strong a person is, he will eventually get tired and lose strength. But the Lord is not that way. He is all-powerful and never needs to rest like we do. Those that engage in service for Him, have the promise of true rest. They SHALL renew their strength. We are going to get tired in the Lord’s service, but you cannot have something renewed unless it has been diminished or drained!
True rest is trusting Christ. True rest is being obedient to Him in His service. But most of all, true rest is watching and waiting for Him to deliver through trials and troubles.