And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: Mark 6:31 KJV
The disciples have once again met up with Jesus after having been sent out by Him to minister. They were like a bunch of excited kids with news too good to keep to themselves. They couldn’t wait to tell Him the ministry they’d done. Although they were excited, they were tired. Ministry is physically, spiritually, and emotionally draining. If you’ve never experienced this, it is both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. I imagine this is how all of them felt on this particular day.
So Jesus says to them, “Come away with Me, to a quiet place, the desert, to rest and eat.”
I looked into different translations of “desert” and have come up with: desert (literal), solitary, secluded, wilderness, remote, etc. He was leading them to a place where there would be no other people. Face it, not many people desire the desert and seek it out on their own. And I doubt few, if any of us, would dub it the ideal place to rest. The desert is so many different things to so many people: sickness, disease, divorce, loss of a loved one, trauma, facing past abuse–the list of desert places is as endless as the variety of people who find themselves there. The desert is a tough place to be, not only because there is no apparent provision, but there is generally no company, either. Are we any greater than our LORD that we should bypass the desert when He dwelled in one for a time?
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Mark 4:1 KJV
I looked up wilderness in my Strong’s concordance. Here are some definitions: lonesome, waste, empty expanse. And then what one would assume: desert, desolate, etc. In other words, not the place one would choose to host a feast. But then, we serve a God whose thoughts are not our own. Remember what David wrote?
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies. Psalm 23:5 NIV
He’s apt to do things like that so I guess we shouldn’t find it unusual that Jesus created a feast in the desert.
Here’s where the feast comes in: The multitude followed Jesus and His disciples. A multitude that had been with them for THREE days, from every direction, and spent the rest of that day with them, too.
“LORD, they’re hungry. Send them away so they can get something to eat. We are in the desert. There’s nothing here.”
He had compassion on them as sheep without a shepherd. Jesus’ calm reply, “You feed them.”
“With what, Master? We are in the desert. We can’t feed all of these people. Let’s be serious now, Jesus, send them away.”
He knew exactly where they were. Does Jesus change His mind? No. Their unbelief doesn’t faze Him a bit. He was stuck on His initial reply of, “You feed them,” by giving them further instructions: “Find out how much bread you have.”
They reported five loaves and two fish. I can see Jesus clapping His hands once with a great big clap and then rubbing His palms together, a smile creasing His face. “Wahoo! We are going to feast tonight!”
Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. Mark 6:39 NLT (italics are mine)
Green grass? In the desert?
Ah, the desert. Dry. Lonely. Difficult. An undesirable place. And yet…
…a place of introspection, growth, discovery, miracles.
Jesus makes green grass in the desert.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:18 KJV
In the dark night of grief, in the loneliness of rejection, in the pain of trauma and abuse, in the suffocating feeling of sickness and disease, in the worry of financial woes, in the despair of unanswered prayers, in the turmoil of broken relationships, in the awfulness of it all, I am here to tell you today that Jesus Christ not only cares and loves us enough to give us the comfort of green grass for our parched souls, He is also preparing a feast for us. Do you see it? Can you smell it? Hold on just a while longer, Dear Heart, our Comforter is here and all He has said will come to pass. We will not only see it, and smell it, we will taste it.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8 NKJV
For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off. Proverbs 23:15 KJV
Join me today and sing “Amen.”