Summary: Jesus isn't fussy about who we are when we earnestly bring our hope to him.
Title: Jesus and the Persistent Pagan
Thesis: Jesus isn’t fussy about who we are when we earnestly bring our hope to him.
A church in England has recorded "the sound of silence" on to a CD which has become a surprise hit with its congregation. Members of St Peter's Church in Sussex, England recorded "a little bit of the silence" of the building's atmosphere. The recording features the ambient sound of footsteps, voices, background traffic noise—but mostly just silence.
Robin Yarnton, a church technician at St Peter's, said: "It does what it says on the tin. Silence is all you get. Mostly people have said it's nice and they like it, and that it's quiet and peaceful."
The full CD features a 30-minute track, with a spoken introduction, closing words, and 28 minutes of silence. An article in a Taiwanese newspaper called the CD a "half-hour of absolutely nothing." But it's more accurate to say that it's a recording of something valuable that we've lost in our frantic lives—silence. According to the church, customers from across the world have been snatching up the recording. (Chris Parsons, "St. Peter's Church Records CD of 'the Sound of Silence,'" Yahoo News, 10-18-12)
In our text today I think we see Jesus attempting to snatch up a little solitude and silence.
I. Solitude Mattered, Mark 7:23-24
Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret. Mark 7:23-24
Jesus was a busy guy. When he was working, so to speak, there was no shortage of opportunities for him to teach, get into theological discussions with religious leaders, instruct his disciples and meet the needs of people who wanted him to do something or heal something or help in some way.
In the first few chapters of Mark we see Jesus attempting to get away:
• Mark 1:35 – He went to a solitary place to pray
• Mark 1:45 – He had to stay in secluded places
• Mark 4:35 – He had his disciples cross the Sea to get to the other side of the lake
• Mark 6:32 – He left for a quiet place where they could be alone
• Mark 7:17 – He went into a house to get away
• Mark 7:24 – He went to the region of Tyre and he did not want anyone to know where he was staying
Dr. Susan Koven who practices internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital wrote in a Boston Globe column, “I the past few years I have observed an epidemic of sorts: patient after patient suffering from the same condition. The symptoms of this condition include fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, back pain and weight gain. There are no blood tests or x-ray diagnostics of this condition… the condition is simply excessive busyness. (Scott Dannemiller, “Busyness Is a Sickness,” Huffington Post, 2/27/15)
One way of applying this is to consider Jesus as an example for us: We all need to find time to rest our bodies and maintain our inner emotional and spiritual lives.
On a recent, late night, I-80 trip I stopped to get gas and noticed one of the rear tires on the car was really low. I felt it and it was hot. I kicked myself wondering just how long it had been low and given the time of night began to worry about whether it was a slow-leak or a fast-leak and how I would get it repaired.
Tires are one of the most important parts on your car. Tires not properly inflated will wear out quickly, waste fuel. Under-inflation creates excessive heat, and can lead to tire failure, which could result in vehicle damage and/or serious injury or death. Research indicates that due to tire under-inflation, at least 260,000 accidents happen per year, and at least half a million gallons of fuel are wasted each year. Under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure. That should come as no shock given tire inflation is the most neglected item of auto maintenance.
I don’t know when or where or how the air leaked out of my tire. But I do know that is how it is in life. We just keep going and going and going without taking time to check the tire pressure. And unless we take the time to make sure our lives are properly inflated, so to speak, we will most certainly find ourselves headed for an unfortunate blowout.
Jesus was not immune to the exhausting demands of needy people. He was not immune to the exhausting of his personal and inner spiritual resources. Jesus needed to take time to properly inflate his physical and spiritual resources. Jesus knew that to continue on at warp speed on an under inflated spiritual life was to invite disaster.