What is true rest? As Christians are we supposed to rest? We all have probably heard the statement there is no rest for the weary! What does Jesus say in the Bible about rest?
It says in Mark 6:30-32: "And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 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. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately."
Notice that Jesus didn't say, "Go ye yourselves." He said, "Come ye yourselves," indicating that they were to go together to the desert place, a place uninhabited, which was the area of Bethsaida, an area north of the sea of Galilee.
Verses in Mark 6:33-34 tell what happened when they departed to a place of rest.
"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. 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. When Jesus stepped out of the ship he gave up the purpose for which he had retreated to the desert. He had compassion on the people. He taught them and healed those that needed healing. These people needed a leader and a shepherd."
We see in Mark 6:35-36 the response the disciples had to this interruption in their rest.
"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: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, ... and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat."
In verse 37 we see Jesus's response to their statement.
"He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto them, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?"
And we know the rest of the story how Jesus performs the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000-plus people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. This shows the true workings of our Lord here on earth.
Did Jesus need rest?
Jesus is God, therefore he needs no rest; but he instituted rest for us as we in our human form like the disciples in the verses quoted become weary and tired and our bodies require rest to be refreshed. We need to charge up our batteries so we can continue on.
As people we need rest not only for health reasons but so we can take care of our family, our marriages, to be an example to others.
1 Timothy 5:8: "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."
We are instructed in the Bible to care for ourselves so we can help care for others.
So a vacation is a time that enables us to recuperate both physically and mentally. My family and I like to travel and sometimes on longer trips. I personally have been to Israel three times, which was a time of learning and refreshing.
So no matter if you are taking a few days off enjoying time at a lake or traveling to a different country, take time to rest but keep God first and take time to pray, read His word and go to church and you will be blessed and refreshed.
Lastly, remember one day there will be eternal rest and we have a choice of where we will spend that eternal rest, but that choice can only be done on this side of the grave.
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life."
God's gift to you of everlasting rest in salvation is through the shed blood of his only begotten son Jesus. He loves you and died for you. Won't you trust him today, it would be the best day of your life.
Roger Braaten is the interim pastor at Pine River Baptist Church.