Luke 5: 14-16 “Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
The ministry of Jesus involved:
His order to the man (now healed from leprosy) to go back to the priests and submit himself to the religious ceremony was for the benefit of the priests and the people, the very ones who had ostracised the man because of his disease. The ceremony of cleansing using 2 birds stated in Leviticus 14 took 7 days to complete and resulted in one bird being sacrificed and the other released. It typified the death and the resurrection of Christ, but of course the people of God didn’t realise this, they just saw something had died so that the leper could live.
The ministry of Christ through His Church is the same today. The Church must be the restoration house for those who have been stigmatised. There has been a death and as the body of Christ lays its life down continually revealing His death then more people will find the restoration they long for.
Jesus worked hard amongst the people. There were rising crowds wanting to hear more teaching. He had to think through what He should teach them. He had to plan His talks, prepare His illustrations of which there were many. He interacted with the crowds. There were lots of times for healing of all kinds of diseases. The queues for healing were long. Jesus didn’t have a personal assistant who managed his diary. He didn’t have appointments booked. He wasn’t able to say ‘Sorry, today is my day off, tomorrow is a study day, the day after is a lieu day, the day after is my team day, the day after that I am at a conference, then of course it is synagogue day, but try me after that day, I should be fine by then, I can see one person in the morning and one in the evening and I will take the afternoon off because of course I couldn’t work all 3 parts of the day.’ That’s not Jesus here in the Gospels. Now of course I am a firm believer in resting but it has always come after work and not before, according to how God planned it anyway. I used a phrase the other day of someone who was about to take some time off, “You deserve a rest,” it was true, they did, but some don’t. Those who don’t work usually don’t produce.
Jesus withdrew often to the place of prayer. To be with His Father to talk, to listen, to meditate and to worship. He went to places that others wouldn’t normally go to, that was the point, to get away from people, for an audience of One.
How do you replenish? Where do you go?
The wording in this verse indicates that this was an ongoing regular practice. The more people were coming to him, the more the work increased, the more he needed to withdraw to prayer. The sourcing of our work in the gospel is huge. Our relationship with the Lord must grow and not tire. We may be tired but our connection with Him must never tire.
Restoration, production and replenishment need to be part of our lives as seen in the life of Jesus. May it be so today.