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. Jesus sent them with power and authority. In Christ’s name, the twelve cast out demons, anointed many with oil and healed the sick. Pairing up and traveling from place to place, the disciples preached the message of repentance to all who would hear. Certainly there was plenty to discuss, but understanding their needs, Jesus invited them to come to a place of rest for they had done much in the way of ministering to God’s people.
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. In many and various ways, the people of God often lean heavily upon those called to ministry. Even still, the passion and excitement displayed by the twelve is paralleled by the passion of today’s disciple. Similarly, just as with the twelve, there is seldom a day when one may take full advantage of finding a desolate place in which to rest. Even at rest, 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 himself 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.
Dearest Jesus, thank you for preparing your disciples for ministry. Thank you for the strength to do your will. Thank you for the power of your love. Using these, my we take our rest in you. Amen.