Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)
But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted. At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!” Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened. As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
King Herod had John the Baptist beheaded. “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” However, the crowds followed him; he felt sorry for them, healed their sick and fed the masses with five loaves and two fishes. Afterward, “Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side… Then he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.”
John was Jesus’ cousin and one of the few who understood who Jesus truly was. John leapt for joy in his mother’s womb when Mary greeted Elizabeth. John baptized Jesus and declared he was the son of God.
Jesus sets an example for all of us to sit with our sorrow. He could have easily kept moving in an attempt to distance himself from sadness. Instead, he sent everyone away and carved out a space to pray in solitude. Honour the losses in your life. Instead of speeding past sadness, slow down and be present with your emotions. With Jesus, sit with your sorrow and let loss do its eternal work in your soul.
Question to Consider
Scripture says Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Does that make it easier for you to bring your own griefs and sorrows to him? In your solitary place, with Jesus by your side, acknowledge your sorrow and bring it to him.
Dear Jesus. I am glad you understand suffering and grief. I am glad you are the God who understands my sadness. Help me to acknowledge my sorrows and let out my emotions. You are my safe place.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)
The 40 days of decrease blogs have been inspired by the book “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole.