The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 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.
You need a vacation. You know you do. You wince when the phone rings, regardless of who it is. Trying to get everything done, you work right through meals. You wake up in the morning and feel like you haven’t even rested. Even if you are a people person, you know you need to retreat to a quiet, solitary place and get some rest.
Jesus sent his disciples out into the communities of Israel to call people to repentance and to tell them that the promised Savior had arrived. When they returned from that important work, they debriefed with Jesus. It was clear to him that they needed some rest.
Their attempt to seek a place for physical rest was thwarted by a large crowd of people. Rather than being frustrated, Jesus realized that those people needed rest as well. Their need for rest was spiritual, and Jesus met that need by teaching them many things.
When you have physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for rest, Jesus meets those needs by teaching you about himself. “Come to me,” he says, “and I will give you rest.” He calms your concerns about your work and your life by promising to be with you. He remedies your guilty feelings by promising to forgive you. He invites you to remember that everything is under his control and that he loves you.
Jesus sees that you are like a sheep without a shepherd. As the Good Shepherd, he leads you and feeds you with his words and promises. He gives you true rest.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the rest you supply me, here and for eternity. Amen.