“Come away by yourselves….” (Mark 6:30)
Squeezed between the horrific beheading of John the Baptist and the magnificent miracle of the five thousand stands an overlooked passage that invites us to love Jesus more deeply. Mark 6:30 reads, “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’”
Christ listened to the apostles as they shared their struggles and recounted their adventures. The one who unfolded powerful truths, who preached with passion about the Kingdom of Heaven and healed the multitudes at his feet, also gave attention to his friends. He had sent them on a mission; they were relaying their accomplishments. He ceased all other activity and heard what they had to say.
They must have been elated, enthusiastic, and also a bit exhausted. After listening, he demonstrated his love for them in as tender an act as washing the grime from their feet with his own sacred hands. Rather than propelling them out for further ministry, he responded, “Come away. Let’s go and rest. I think you need that right now.”
The clear image of his acknowledging their weariness gives us a glimpse into the heart of our Savior. When we approach him to relate where we have been
and what we have been attempting, he turns his ear in our direction as well. And when we have been occupied with the Father’s work, he is mindful that what we need is not another task but time away for rest. We are instructed to listen for his voice. It’s reassuring to realize he listens to ours as well.