18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Jn. 20:18-20
For the purposes of this post, notice that last line: “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” But first…
Have you ever done or accomplished a certain task fully to its end? Normally, when we do that, we want to sit back and relax and have our favorite cup of coffee! (Being the original African, I prefer a hot bowl of red millet porridge). We want to take a holiday! We want to ‘let off steam’ or something. More importantly, of course, we consider it our ‘hard-earned’ right to take such a breather.
How long did it take the Lord Jesus Christ to present His blood, His own, eternal sacrificial blood, to the Father? We cannot know because with the Lord time is not time as we know it. But in GMT time, within approximately 10 hours, Jesus had presented His own blood to the Father and, having accomplished all of His Father’s will to perfection, in a jiffy He was back with His disciples!
Jesus had accomplished His mission; He ought to have rested. Can you imagine, that same evening, He was back on earth with His disciples! Had it been me I probably would have taken a year off and played heavenly golf or something. But not Jesus.
Indeed, it is interesting that we do not read anywhere where Jesus was able to take a vacation or holiday or anything like that. I am sure He must have desired to, but circumstances would not allow.
We read of another instance, when after the Lord Jesus had sent forth the twelve apostles to minister and they came back and He desired that they should go and seek a place to rest. In other words, Jesus attempted to go on vacation. Let us see in detail what the scriptures say here.
30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. 33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. 34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. 37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men. Mk. 6:30-44
There is no doubt in this account of scripture that Jesus and His disciples needed a rest. The Bible says, “for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat”! So Jesus ordered a vacation.
But when Jesus saw the people who had gathered again, He had compassion on them. He abandoned His ‘holiday’ and went to minister to them. And He did not only minister to them with the Word, but He also gave them food to eat.
In the light of these two examples, can we possibly think that we are sacrificing too much time, money or energy for people? Hardly! The love of God ought to constrain us more and more and drive us to give of our lives to people more and more.
But more importantly, we need to know what it was that drove Jesus to do these things. It was love. Right here I can confidently say that our understanding of God’s love is less than 50% – and that is probably overstating it still. Imagine Jesus (in the first scripture), having gone back to the glories of heaven, and not thinking about them, but instead thinking of some inconsequential, sinful, disreputable humans back down on earth? And just imagine, His heart literally ached for them!
Jesus must have said to God, “Father, I just have to go back!”
And God (for conversation’s sake): “Where to, Son?”
“I yearn for my brethren, my disciples.”
“OK, Son, you go right ahead”, God would have answered. “I am with you.”
Much of our ‘service’ is done out of a dry sense of duty. But I can assure you it was compassion that drove Jesus so fast from heaven to come down and comfort His distraught disciples. Notice, “the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews”. Jesus’ disciples were fearful! But Jesus came down and appeared to them and said to them, “Peace be unto you.” And when they had established that it was Jesus, they were comforted. “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”
It is sometimes so easy for us, so far removed in time and space from the situation that Jesus’ disciples were in, to not see it in its gravity. But God’s heart is super-sensitive towards His church.
Yes, Jesus came back for many things, but we can clearly see the chief reason He came back immediately at that particular time was to comfort His disciples. Can we possibly yearn for our brothers and sisters to the extent that we are willing to leave our comforts and rights and privileges and go and ‘be with them’ in even the simplest of gestures?
And do you know what? Jesus has not taken any vacation yet. He is in heaven right now, at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us (Heb. 7:25)! What love! What compassion! What incredible sacrifice!
[Below: A Kurya homestead in the Serengeti; but it’s the brethren, up close in the second pic, who are more interesting!]