Summary: Jesus invites His close followers to come away with Him to a quiet place, to fellowship with Him and the Father.
It’s good to be back home with the household of God, my St. Thomas family. Last week, I attended the Forward in Faith Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri, along with Bishop and my mom. We had quite an adventure coming home. Our flight from St. Louis to Philadelphia was cancelled. Then our rebooked flight from St. Louis to Charlotte was delayed nearly two hours, leaving us a scant 15 minutes to make our connection in Charlotte to Salisbury. Fortunately (unfortunately), the Salisbury flight was also delayed about two hours. Throughout this ordeal, my thoughts dwelt on the impending Tuesday morning deadline at work, which would have me spending all night in the office. Originally scheduled to arrive home around 5:30pm, we got into Salisbury about 11:40pm. Tired and fuzzyheaded in the way that only air travel can do, I dragged into the office at 7:15am to begin the marathon session. Back in my college days, while all-nighters did make me tired, still I could bounce back fairly quickly in one or two days. Not so any longer, especially when additional deadlines, responsibilities, and events deny the rest that I so long for, so need, so deserve.
The Disciples were in the same boat. Well, they were literally in a boat and I was in a plane, but you get the picture. They had gone out two-by-two, as Jesus had sent them. “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (Mk. 6:12-13). The twelve had gone to all the towns and villages: they had stayed up late, gotten up early, preached till their throats were hoarse, anointed the sick till it seemed they’d never wash the oil off their hands. They were worn out from good, hard work.
Jesus saw that they were tired, He knew that they were hungry, and so He offered them an invitation: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mk. 6:31). Jesus invited the apostles to a quiet place; he invited them to be alone—alone with Jesus, what a special place.
Being alone, solitude, is part of who Jesus is, and part of what He modeled for the Apostles. Jesus taught His disciples, those committed to Him, when they were alone. “When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He said to them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you’” (Mk. 4:10). Again, “He did not say anything to them [i.e., the crowds] without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything” (Mk. 4:34). Jesus waited till the private moments for the clearest teaching.
Jesus’ true nature is revealed to those who are alone with Him. Most gloriously, “After six days, Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them” (Mk. 9:2). The crowds and the followers were not prepared for this revelation, not even all of the Twelve, only Peter, James, and John. And even they struggled and stumbled in the face of Jesus’ glory.