The disciples returned from the mission from which Jesus sent them filled with excitement. They couldn’t wait to report to their teacher the many things they had done in his name. Pairing up and traveling from place to place, the disciples preached the message of repentance to all who would hear, cast out demons and healed the sick. Certainly there was plenty to discuss, but understanding their needs, Jesus invited them to come away to a place of rest.
Life as a disciple of Christ is much the same today. Those who are engaged in ministering to the sick, hungry, homeless and lost find that there is seemingly no end to such mission. Even the people of God who come weekly to worship often lean heavily upon those called to ministry. Even still, the passion and excitement displayed by the twelve is paralleled by today’s disciple. Similarly, just as with the twelve, seldom is there a day when such a disciple may take full advantage of finding a desolate place to rest. Even in that desolate place, the disciple loves those whom God has placed in his charge; he cares for the sick, tends to the needy and prays for the flock. The notion of rest seems unattainable, yet Jesus realizes and understands their needs.
Following the boat that carried Jesus and the twelve to that “desolate” place was a great crowd. When Jesus saw them, he had compassion and called his disciples to give them something to eat. What followed was perhaps one of Jesus’ most powerful miracles. Not only did Jesus feed the multitude, he fed the twelve. As we continue to trust and follow our Lord, Jesus continues to feed us with the truth of the gospel, the compassion of God’s love and with food from heaven provided in abundance. The blessing of being in ministry and service in the name of Christ is such that as the disciple grows tired, Jesus fills them with power, even when the desolate place is not so peaceful.
Prayer: Dearest Jesus, bless us in our work of the gospel, and grant us rest in you. Amen.