Summary: We are talking about the spiritual discipline of solitude and Jesus is a wonderful example for us with this aspect of the Christian life.
JOURNEY THROUGH THE SCRIPTURES
As we begin this morning, I want us to take a journey through the Scriptures in the life of Jesus. Jesus Christ demonstrates, by His own life and example, the spiritual discipline we will dig into today. We are talking about the spiritual discipline of solitude and Jesus is a wonderful example for us with this aspect of the Christian life.
Mark chapter 1 describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry:
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
As we look at this passage, it seems quite clear that Jesus spent time by Himself to prepare Himself for preaching, teaching, healing, and facing His ministry which was so very important. The Gospel of Luke Chapter 5 continues to show us that Jesus used solitary times in His life. As Jesus taught and healed people, the size of the crowds grew and I can imagine so did the amount of effort and stress in His life. Luke 5 says:
READ LUKE 5:15-16
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
The next passage, Mark 6, shows us that Jesus had a normal habit of getting by Himself. He did take time by Himself, but He also was trying to teach His disciples to do the same. He was trying to instill in them the need for solitary times in their lives:
READ MARK 6:30-32
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 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.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
One of the next times in Jesus’ life where we see Him taking time for Himself is when heart hurting tragedy strikes. Jesus had family that we know of: His mother, brothers and sisters, and a cousin. His cousin was John the Baptist was the first prophet in Israel in 400 years and was the Herald of the Messiah. John baptized Jesus. John pointed people to Jesus. John preached about Jesus. John was beheaded in prison. Matthew 14 shares with us:
READ MATTHEW 14:11-13
11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. 13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.
Our journey in the Scriptures now arrives at Matthew 26 and is a key point in Jesus’ life. To be honest with you, it is a key point in our lives and means a great deal to us whether or not we realize it. It is a key point in our lives because Matthew 26 begins the account for us of the rapid succession of events that led Jesus to the cross.
PAUSE FOR THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
I probably shouldn’t do this, but I want to pause for a moment and reflect on the significance of the death of Jesus. Matthew 26 recounts for us the preparation, the arrest, and the unlawful trial before the Jews that Jesus willingly endured. After all those events, Jesus was crucified on the cross. Why is the cross important?
The cross is important because on the cross Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly died for us.
The cross is important because that willing death provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins.
The cross is important because it is the only way that sins are forgiven by God.
The cross is important because it proves that God’s offer of forgiveness and eternal life is genuine.
Please please understand that any person at any point in their life can come to belief in Jesus, confess Him, and be forgiven by His blood. Maybe you are here today and you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and been immersed into Him. That is the most important decision you will ever make. Acts 2:38 tells us, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Please please read the Gospels and dig into Jesus’ life and His death. Without Jesus, we are eternally lost. If you aren’t sure where to start, start with the Gospel of Mark, the second book of the New Testament, which will give you a great foundation on who Jesus is and what He did for us.