Summary: One of the challenges this passage lays upon us is to trust in God to provide for the little things. To pray just as earnestly that God would ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ And we’re to look out for God working in little ways in our lives.
Sermon by Rev George Hemmings
It’s good to be back, after our little trip to Queensland. We had a great time away, visiting family and enjoying lots of fantastic weather. I can’t say we’ve returned well rested, as Micah & Joshua decided that since the sun rises sometime around 5am, that would be a good time for them to start the day too. And our last 24 hours were something of a disaster, with two trips to the hospital. So it’s good to be home, back into regular routines and it’s especially good to be back with our church family.
Just as we’ve returned, our passage today starts with the disciples returning. You might recall from last week, that Jesus has just sent them out on a short-term mission trip. He gave them power over the unclean spirits and sent them out in pairs. They went out and cast out demons, healed the sick and proclaimed the good news about Jesus, calling people to repent. Jesus trusted them to join in his mission, his work and he even shared his power with them so they could do so. By all accounts they’ve been successful. Now, in verse 30 they’ve come back. There’s a lot of energy and excitement as they gather around Jesus. You can imagine them all pumped up, eager to tell him everything that they’ve done, all that they accomplished in his name. But they can’t quite do this. Mark says there were so many people around them, the crowd is so large the disciples couldn’t even sit down to share a meal with Jesus.
Well, Jesus recognises their need for some time out. He knows they need to be careful not to burn out, they need some rest and rejuvenation. So he says to them, ‘Come on let’s get out of here.’ Jesus intends to take them off on a retreat, so they can properly debrief and to get some well-deserved rest. So they jump in their boat and set sail for a deserted place on the Lake of Galilee.
As they say, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.’ Seems even Jesus’ plans don’t work out. He intended to take the disciples away from the crowd, but when they arrive at their deserted place they find the crowd’s beaten them there! By now Jesus has become pretty popular. Verse 14 says that Jesus’ name had become quite well known. It’s not surprising really as he’s done some amazing miracles, healing people, casting out demons, raising the dead. Even King Herod is wondering who is this man? Everyone’s talking about him and everyone wants to catch a glimpse of him. It’s a bit like when Justin Beiber, or One Direction, who ever they are, turn up in town. The first sighting is all it takes for the crowd to come flocking in hoping to see Jesus. And by now it’s not just Jesus who would have been recognised. The disciples too had probably gathered quite a following after their successful mission. Verse 33 says, many saw ‘them’ and recognised ‘them’. The crowd’s spotted them and rush from all the surrounding towns to be there when Jesus and the disciples touch down.