“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew
by boat privately to a solitary place.”
Matthew 14:13 (NIV)
As I write this devotional I feel exhausted. My body is telling me to go and lie down for a rest. However my mind is busy and full of thoughts to express about Jesus. What has tired me out today was conducting the funeral of a young mom, wife, daughter and sister to a lovely family that I have grown to love.
Although my meditation at the service was specifically for the children I did invite the grown ups there to listen as well. As I carefully followed my notes so that I would keep the message short, I did mention the incident we read of in our verse today. The situation described in our verse was not in my notes but popped into my mind as I sought to describe Jesus in the most appealing way to the children.
Our Lord’s great ministry in the northern province of Galilee was coming to an end. Shortly the tide would turn and the large crowds fade away (John 6:66). For now Jesus still had the ear of the common people. Sadly, He had recently visited His home town of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6). He was rejected by their lack of faith. Jesus had sought His friends and neighbours good, but the town in which He grew up and lived for so many years turned its back on Him. Feeling the cold rebuff Jesus left for the last time.
Our Lord was already sorrowful over the way He was spurned in Nazareth and then He received the tragic news that His beloved older cousin John the Baptist had been executed. It was too much for Him and He realised the need to withdraw and be alone. This is why our verse tells us that He withdrew alone to a deserted place.
Our verse indicates very clearly that when someone whom Jesus loves is hurt, abused, dies or is martyred like His cousin John, there is grief in His loving heart. Yes, Jesus cares when we are suffering. May I suggest that when we weep in sorrow over some very hurtful matter that our beloved Lord in glory weeps as well?
We read of Jesus being in the very presence of death when He attended the grave of His dear friend Lazarus (John 11:33-36). As our Lord looked around at those who were weeping it says in the text that emotion overcame Him and He was profoundly troubled in spirit. Then His sorrow brought on the tears.
How can we doubt that remarkable love of Jesus for His people especially in their times of deep distress? Certainly I am convinced that Jesus is the very same today as He was so many centuries ago when He walked this earth. Jesus still has tears for our suffering just as He did at the news of John the Baptist’s death
Come to Jesus today with your broken heart and ask for Him to enter your life with His healing and peace. He longs to bless those who mourn. Will you seek Him today?