The disciples came back from a successful time of ministry, being sent by Jesus into the towns of Galilee (Mark 6:7-12). When they returned, Jesus knew they needed a time of rest. Jesus knew when it was time to work, and He knew when it was time to rest.
Jesus was an incessant worker and the Apostles followed His example. They forgot to food John 4:31-34) and rest. 1
Jesus knew the importance of hard work better than anyone did. He said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4) At the same time, He knew that we can only be most effective at work when we also take time for rest. Jesus and the disciples were constantly busy, so Jesus took them away to a deserted place for some rest. 2
Jesus indicates the need for at least occasional rest for His zealous and concerned followers. No matter how urgent the need for Christian witness and service, the worker must also provide for His own (1 Timothy 5:8) and “give attendance to reading” (1 Timothy 4:13), especially to provide spiritual food and guidance for himself and his family.” 3
Jesus is emphasizing rest. But we need to keep that in balance. Jesus’ disciples had been working hard on a mission; so now it was time to rest.
We are called to follow Jesus’ example. The apostles needed to rest, time to recuperate, regenerate and gain spiritual nourishment, but there was no rest for Jesus.
We all need rest from time to time, even when we are busy doing the Lord’s work and serving Him through ministry. Since God created us, he knows more than anyone else that our bodies need adequate rest. And because Jesus, the Son of God, came to dwell among us in a flesh and blood body, he experienced being tired.
In Mark 6:32-34 we sense the fatigue and need for rest and renewal that Jesus and his disciples experienced. For a Christian, times of retreat and solitude, times for prayer and worship are a potential source of spiritual renewal and nourishment.
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In conclusion, consider what the Daily Bread email message sent on 5/24/2023 says,
Mark 6:31 – And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) (NASB)
Even incessant Christian workers need to occasionally go along with Jesus to a quiet place, away from those they minister, and get some rest.
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- Henry C. Thiessen (revised by Vernon D. Doerksen), Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981), pg. 2285.
- David Guzik, Commentary on Mark 6, (Enduring Word, https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/Mark-6/, Mark 6:31
- Morris, Henry, The New Defender’s Study Bible (Nashville, TN: World Publishing Inc, 1995 and 2006) pg. 1469.