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.