We are in the section of the scriptures where we encounter Jesus doing what Jesus does best: teaching, healing, and casting out demons. This was typical of his three-year ministry on earth. The activity, energy, and intensity of his ministry cannot be discounted. At times we can almost feel his weariness as he moved through a day.
Do you ever feel weary as you go about your routine? I would hazard a guess that we are all quite weary of this pandemic. It has added incredible layers of preparation to an ordinary day. The news of more deaths and more positive cases greets us upon awaking, as we put on the clothing of grief and despair. The need to take necessary precautions when we venture out feels like strapping a heavy weight of complexity to our shoulders as we make our way to the car. Do I have a mask? Hand sanitizer? Will it be crowded where I’m going? Will people stay 6 feet away from me? Will others wear their masks? Do I really need to be out today?
And of course the isolation we are experiencing is the worst of it all. Not being able to do our normal activities such as socializing with friends, being with family, attending church and community activities, eating out, watching a concert or a movie (remember concerts and movies?)….we are weary not only from what we have to do, but from what we can’t do right now.
Gosh, I am weary from writing that paragraph! Let’s turn to something more helpful.
What did Jesus do when he got weary?
Mark 1 ( Common English Bible)
Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law
29 After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew.30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once.31 He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.
In one brief paragraph, we see Jesus spending a long day of teaching in the synagogue and then immediately being called upon to raise up a friend’s mother from a serious illness.
By sunset, people were gathered at the door and presented all of their needs and issues. Some were sick. Some were demon-possessed. There were all kinds of diseases present. He healed them all, and then he had to keep the demons quiet.
Jesus’ ministry spreads
32 That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered near the door. 34 He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him.
As I read this, I have to say it doesn’t appear that our Lord got much rest. He began his healings and casting-out services at sunset for a WHOLE TOWN. Then he was up the next morning, well before sunrise.
35 Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer.
Let’s stop right there. In the exhaustion of his activity, Jesus didn’t hit the snooze button a few times (which is what I would do) and then sit with a cup of coffee (which is what I would need) and contemplate his day. No, he rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone to pray.
What would your day look like if you did that? Arose before dawn and went out to the beach, the mountain overlook, your back yard, your front porch, etc. and had nothing to do but just pray?
36 Simon and those with him tracked him down. 37 When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!”
We see that his time with his Father wasn’t very long. But his understanding that he needed to be about his father’s business was unwavering:
38 He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.” 39 He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons.
That is why I’ve come.
Why are you here? Are you letting your weariness get in the way of your mission? Are you feeling flat and unmotivated? Has sloth set in a little?
Jesus reminds us to take time to recharge in the presence of his father, and then get back on track. Praying in a quiet space and remembering what God has called you to do can be the beginning of a second wind when you begin to fade out. It worked for Jesus, and it will work for you, too.