From Heaven With Love


Chapter 38—Christ and the Twelve Take a Vacation

This chapter is based on Matthew 14:1, 2, 12, 13; Mark 6:30-32; Luke 9:7-10.

On returning from their missionary tour, “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 lonely place, and rest a while.’” RSV. HLv 240.1

The disciples’ intimate relationship with Jesus encouraged them to lay before Him their favorable and unfavorable experiences as evangelists. As they frankly told Christ of their experiences, He saw that they needed much instruction. He saw, too, that they needed rest. HLv 240.2

But where they then were they could not obtain privacy, “for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” The people were thronging after Christ, anxious to be healed and eager to listen to His words. He seemed to many to be the fountain of all blessings. HLv 240.3

But now Christ longed for retirement, for He had much to say to His disciples. In their work at times they had been much troubled to know what to do. They needed now to go to a place of retirement where they could hold communion with Jesus and receive instruction for future work. They had been putting their whole souls into labor for the people, and this was exhausting their physical and mental strength. It was their duty to rest. HLv 240.4

As the disciples had seen the success of their labors, they were in danger of taking credit to themselves, of cherishing spiritual pride, and falling under Satan's temptations. They must learn that their strength was not in self, but in God. They needed to commune with Christ, with nature, and with their own hearts. HLv 240.5

It was about this time that Jesus received tidings of the Baptist's death. This brought vividly before Him the end to which His own steps were tending. Priests and rabbis were watching, spies hung upon His steps, and plots for His ruin were multiplying. HLv 241.1

News reached Herod of Jesus and His work. “This is John the Baptist,” he said; “he is risen from the dead”; and he expressed a desire to see Jesus. Herod was in constant fear lest a revolution unseat him and break the Roman yoke from the Jewish nation. Among the people the spirit of insurrection was rife. It was evident that Christ's public labors in Galilee could not long continue, and He longed to be apart for a season from the confusion of the multitude. HLv 241.2

With saddened hearts the disciples of John had borne his mutilated body to its burial. Then “they went and told Jesus.” These disciples had been envious of Christ and had doubted His divine mission because He did not set the Baptist at liberty. But now they longed for consolation in their great sorrow and for guidance as to their future work. They came to Jesus and united their interest with His. HLv 241.3

At the northern end of the lake was a lonely region, beautiful with the fresh green of spring. For this place they set out in their boat. The scenes of nature were in themselves a rest, grateful to the senses. Here they could listen to Christ without the angry interruptions, retorts, and accusations of the scribes and Pharisees. HLv 241.4