The holidays are over and we’re all back to it. Maybe your job has a lot of stress at the end of each month (especially at the end of the year)? Maybe your kids really didn’t want to go back to school? Maybe you’re receiving the bills from your holiday shopping? For a couple of reasons, January can be a busy and stressful month.
Do we take some comfort from the fact that our Lord and Savior had situations where He was overwhelmed with daily life? Hebrews 4.15-16 (paraphrased): “We have a high priest who can empathize with us; He has been tempted just like we are, but He did not sin. So, we can approach God’s throne with confidence, to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
This is a quick review of Mark Chapter 6:
- Jesus is discounted/dismissed in His hometown (v1-6).
- He sends the apostles on their first mission trip: preaching, driving out demons, healing the sick (v7-12).
- Jesus receives word that John the Baptist has been beheaded in prison (v13-29).
- The apostles return with their reports, and Jesus tries to take them away for rest (v30-34).
- The crowds gather and counter Jesus’ best-laid plans. He teaches them and then miraculously feeds 5,000 men (v35-44).
We should not minimize the human stress faced (and overcome) by Jesus. He was amazed by the people in his hometown, to the extent that “He could not do any miracles there…” (v5). Peter and the other apostles were likely challenged by their assignment. In their success, they really wanted to report to Jesus. He tried to take them away for a time of rest (v31), but a large crowd ran ahead of Jesus. “When He landed… He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” (v34)
What can we learn from Jesus’ response to a stressful situation? He gave us an example to not allow fatigue to overwhelm our compassion or to limit our service. At the end of that day, Jesus gave us another important example. When the day’s work was done, He sent the apostles away, He sent the crowd away, and “He went up on a mountainside to pray.” (v46)
Stress is not a bad thing. It’s a common condition to productive people, and fatigue should be well-earned. When we’ve done all that we can do, “send them away and go to your mountain for prayer.”