Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,
(Matthew 14:22-23 ESV)
After feeding the 5,000 which we read about yesterday, Jesus immediately made the disciples get into the boat and go to the other side of the lake while He remained behind and dismissed the crowd. In the original Greek the word “made” implies urgency and necessity. We find out the reason for this in John’s gospel where we read that the crowd wanted to forcibly make Jesus king right then and there [John 6:14-15].
It was important for Jesus to not let the disciples get wrapped up in the emotional wishes of the people. He had just recently taught them about the kingdom of heaven. He had also taught them how to speak to others about the gospel. Jesus was preparing these twelve men for the time when He would no longer be here and they would be His sole representatives on earth. If they had gotten caught up in the mass hysteria all that work would have been lost. Jesus needed to keep them focused. So He used His authority to send them away.
God still works this same way today. Perhaps we have friends who are influencing us to do sinful things. Or our job causes us to spend too much time away from Him or our family. God may very well tell us to leave such a situation. If we don’t He may take us out of it forcibly. While we may not understand at the time and may even resent God for it, everything God does is for our own good [Romans 8:28].
Interestingly, this situation was very similar to the temptation Jesus experienced in the wilderness when Satan offered to give Him the entire world. Satan left Him when He refused, but only until another opportunity presented itself [Luke 4:13]. I believe Jesus faced many temptations from Satan during His life and this was likely another one.
Being human, Jesus could easily have let the crowds lead Him to Jerusalem. Being God, He could easily have conquered anyone opposed to Him, including mighty Rome. He could have bypassed the pain, humiliation, and agony of the cross and taken His rightful place as king over all creation right then and there rather than waiting for God’s plan to unfold. But He didn’t. In fact, He is still waiting for the time to be right to come back to earth and rule.
Sometimes taking the shortcut through life is not the best choice [Proverbs 14:29]. God has a plan for each of us. It’s our job to understand what that is and follow it.
After the crowds were gone and Jesus went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Jesus got precious little time to Himself. Here He takes advantage of some solitude to be alone with God.
This is a good lesson for us. When we have some down time, rather than watching TV or surfing the Internet, we should spend it with God.
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