For this week’s sermon, we’re looking at Luke 4:31-44. It’s an account of a day in the life of Jesus. He begins his day by teaching in a synagogue. His listeners are quick to recognise that he speaks with authority and this is further demonstrated when he sets a man free from a demon. Later, Jesus goes to Simon’s house for a meal. Simon’s mother-in-law has a high fever and Jesus rebukes this sickness and it leaves her. At sunset, sick people come to Jesus and he heals them—each one. Others have demons and they’re set free. We’re not told how long Jesus ministered to people but I speculate that it was a long night. Perhaps he was able to catch a few hours of sleep but at daybreak he goes to a solitary place only for people to find him there. They attempt to keep him from leaving their town but Jesus tells them he must move on and go to other places to proclaim the good news of the kingdom.
As an introvert, I read about this particular account and I feel exhausted! How did Jesus always have time for people? How was Jesus able to keep on giving of himself to those in need? Yes, he was God but he was also fully man and would have experienced tiredness and exhaustion just like the rest of us. I would like to suggest that the answer lies in verse 42 where Luke tells us Jesus went to a solitary place. The gospel of Mark also describes that particular day and says, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 emphasis mine). Jesus was not just having space or time out. He was deliberately spending time alone with God so that he could pray.
Bill Gaultiere says:
Continually Jesus withdrew from people, daily life activities, and the demands of his ministry to be alone with the Father and pray. Jesus’ solitude and silence is a major theme in the Gospels. His ongoing, intimate relationship with his Abba was the source of his compassion, wisdom, and power that we see on every page of the Gospels.
The priority of Jesus’ solitude and silence is everywhere in the Gospels. It’s how he began his ministry. It’s how he made important decisions. It’s how he dealt with troubling emotions like grief. It’s how he dealt with the constant demands of his ministry and cared for his soul. It’s how he taught his disciples. It’s how he prepared for important ministry events. It’s how he prepared for his death on the cross.
If spending intimate time alone with God to pray was a necessity for Jesus and his ministry then surely we need to make it a priority in our lives too. It’s easy to push time alone with God to the side but if we do this habitually we’ll be living our lives on empty. May God ignite in all of us a longing in our hearts to be alone with Him.