Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.Matthew 14:13(NASB)
Although Jesus was fully God, He was also fully Man. Although He was the eternal Son of God Who was the exact representation of the Father, Jesus was also a Man - a perfect Man, but with human limitations, just as we are. And so because of His humanity, He is able to sympathise with the many weaknesses of mortal man; our physical weariness, mental exhaustion, the limitation of this body of flesh and blood, and He understands our deepest spiritual needs. He is able to empathise with our pain and our grief, our disappointments and loss, for Jesus was made in the likeness of human flesh and was tempted in all things just as we are, and yet He was without sin.
He was the One Who, when so many crowds were coming and going and He and His disciples did not even have time to eat and relax, said to His faithful followers, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." There are many examples where the Lord Jesus Christ identified with the frailty of our human flesh and on occasions, we catch a glimpse of His withdrawing to a desert place or retreating to the ocean shore by Himself, helping us to understand that we also need times of mental and spiritual refreshment and demonstrating that we too need times to be alone with the Lord, as we come to terms with some circumstance of life that may be hard to bear.
How important it is that we are not so bound up in our own lives and ministries, and that we neglect those important times of reflection and refreshment. How vital not to dismiss those quiet times alone with our Heavenly Father because they don't fit in with our busy schedule. How important not to miss that still small voice of God calling us to come aside from the busyness of life and to spend time in the company of our Heavenly Father.
In this passage, Jesus had just been told of the murder of John the Baptist, His faithful forerunner who had gone before to prepare the way of the Lord. The death of John must have been a great pain for Jesus to bear, but the plans and purposes of God dictated that this must be so if He were to complete the task that God had called Him to do. Sometimes those special people upon whom we rely the most, need to be removed from our lives in the same way that John was removed from Christ's ministry because the next step of His earthly journey was rapidly moving into days of darkness and difficulty where the Father alone must be Christ's only means of support and sustenance.
Although Jesus was fully God, He was also fully Man and His life is a wonderful witness of the way that God requires all men to live, looking to Him alone, trusting in no earthly support and relying on no-one but our Heavenly Father to supply our every need and direct our earthly pathway. If we are to be like the Lord Jesus, we need to die to self so that we can live for Him. We need to keep self nailed to the Cross and be willing to forego all the things that might hinder the good work that God has prepared for us to do.
How blessed we are to know that in His humanity, Jesus was able to sympathise with our weaknesses and understood the limitation of this earthly life, but He is also the only one Who can supply our deepest spiritual needs. Praise God that Christ is still able to empathise with our pain, our grief, our disappointments, and our loss, as well as being our all sufficient Saviour, our light and our life.
But let us remember to take time to be alone with Him and to trust Him in every situation that we may be called upon to face, for we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but One Who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word of truth and the lessons that it teaches us. Thank You for Jesus and His beautiful example of a life which demonstrated how to live in this frail human body, to Your praise and glory. May I live as He did and be prepared to say in all things, "Thy will not mine be done." In Jesus' name, AMEN.