Topic: Time Alone With God [December 30, 2016]
Read: Matthew 14:13–23, Bible in a Year: Zechariah 13–14; Revelation 21
[Jesus] went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23
It was a busy morning in the church room where I was helping. Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing. There was so much activity that the room became warm and I propped the door open. One little boy saw this as his chance to escape so when he thought no one was looking, he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I wasn’t surprised that he was headed straight for his daddy’s arms.
The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes busy and overwhelming—he slipped away to be with his father. Jesus looked for opportunities to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer. Some might say this was how He coped with the demands that depleted His human energy. According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus was headed to a solitary place when a crowd of people followed Him. Noticing their needs, Jesus miraculously healed and fed them. After that, however, He “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (v. 23).
Jesus repeatedly helped multitudes of people, yet He didn’t allow Himself to become haggard and hurried. He nurtured His connection with God through prayer. How is it with you? Will you take time alone with God to experience His strength and fulfillment?
Where are you finding greater fulfillment—in meeting the demands of life or in cultivating your relationship with your Creator?
When we draw near to God our minds are refreshed and our strength is renewed!
The theme of rest is at the heart of the Jewish faith. For example, one of the central practices of Judaism is Shabbat (Sabbath rest). In the first century, however, many Jewish leaders were requiring extra faith practices so burdensome that Jesus openly challenged them regarding the damage they were doing to the lives of the people (see Matt. 23:2–4). The weighty tasks of religious duty had robbed people of the relational rest God desired. That may be why Jesus spoke some of the most comforting words of His public ministry: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (11:28).
This message was written by Jennifer Benson Schuldt [Our Daily Bread Ministries.]