I’m in Israel this week.
Yes, Israel. As I type these words I’m sitting in my hotel in Jerusalem where we arrived today. We’ve enjoyed two days in the beautiful Galilee area, and now we’ve come to the holy city.
But before making our journey here today, we began our morning on top of the mountain named Mt. Arbel, where they believe Jesus went when He learned that His cousin, John the Baptist had been killed.
When Jesus heard what happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the village and buy themselves some food. Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat. . . (with five loaves and two fish He fed over five thousand people, he then dismissed the crowd, and he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side.) . . . After he dismissed them, he went up on the mountainside by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:13-23 addition/abbreviated verse mine).
It’s a beautiful place, quiet and calm. The Sea of Galilee, now called Lake Tiberias has become one of my favorite places. As I sat there pondering the scripture from Matthew and the grief Jesus must have experienced at the death of His cousin, I was struck by how Jesus didn’t order the crowds away when He needed some space. He had compassion on them, healed them, fed them, and then sent them on their way.
I want to be like that.
But I don’t want to miss the fact that He did finally get time alone to pray.
Sitting where Jesus sat, I was reminded of several things:
- Jesus understands great grief.
- Jesus never put His needs in front of the people.
- It was okay to tell the people to go home and send the disciples on ahead of Him after they were healed and fed.
Don’t you love our Jesus?
When was the last time you climbed a mountain or watched a sunrise, or simply got your family settled and then got away to pray?
Finding purpose in getting alone for prayer,