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Devotional - week of October 31, 2004


REST A WHILE

There are several passages in the New Testament that refer to Jesus’ promises of rest for His believers. Some passages refer to physical rest and some to spiritual rest.

Mark 6:31 refers to our need for physical and emotional rest.

And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.  Mark 6:31

Mark 6:30 describes the gathering of the apostles to Jesus after their return from their first missionary trips. Jesus had sent them out two by two. Mark 6:12 describes the nature of their mission ministries:

… they preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

Surely the apostles returned to Jesus in a state of physical and emotional fatigue. And according to Mark 6:31 there were so many people coming to Jesus that Jesus and His disciples did not even have time to eat. It was at this point Jesus told the apostles to come aside to a deserted place and rest a while.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus promised rest to those who would come to Him. It is a promise of spiritual rest for our souls. This well-known passage speaks of freedom from seeking acceptance with God by our own efforts.

A second well-known passage concerning rest is found in the Hebrews 4:10. It teaches that when we live by faith, we rest from our own works. In faith we can then do the works of God.

Give particular attention, though, to Jesus’ words “rest a while.” The physical and emotional rest we need is for “a while.” The rests in Matthew 11:28 and Hebrews 4:10 are not for “a while.” They are ongoing.

Our flesh will drive us. When we walk in the Spirit, He will guide us. And from time to time He will say, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”