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Rest for Your Soul

Watch Week Five Day One

Supernatural Rest

What is rest? A lonely stretch of pristine beach on a tropical island? The smell of pine and hot chocolate wafting through a cozy cabin?

How about a congested child at 3 a.m.? A pressing project with key team members out sick? A friend’s broken heart in the middle of finals week?

God’s ways are not our ways. We might conceive of rest as a comfortable escape from challenges. In contrast, Jesus couples rest with burdens. The two exist in tandem—which, if we think about it, makes sense. We don’t need rest unless we’ve been contending with a burden.

When we’re in the thick of ministering at work, with our families, or at our churches, we are expending our everything—our intellect, creativity, empathy, strength—and we will inevitably run out . . . of everything. There’s a limit to our capacity. There’s a wall we are destined to hit.
Jesus meets us at the wall and says, lovingly, “Is that all you’ve got?” It’s not a question posed to shame us; instead, it’s an invitation to lean into Him with our exhaustion and burdens. He tears down the wall of human capacity and establishes peace—and rest—when we trust Him in the thick of our challenges. Rest is leaning into Jesus when the circumstances look desolate.

The disciples saw crowds hungry for Jesus and starving for bread, and their response was to send them away. Jesus wanted the disciples to know that He can provide the impossible, even in the most desolate places. He multiplied five loaves and two fish into a bounty with twelve baskets of leftovers—one for each disciple! Rest is trusting Jesus to feed you so that you can feed others.

But there’s more. The disciples weren’t merely contending with hungry crowds, but with profound grief, following John the Baptist’s beheading (Mark 6:14– 29). Their friend was executed as payment for a dance—unjust, brutal . . . tragic. Their hearts were broken, but the people kept coming. Hungry.

Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28–30 help illuminate this passage in Mark: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Rest For Your Souls

A yoke tied two animals together to do a job; one animal, with more experience, carried the heavier portion and set the pace for the more inexperienced beast. When we are yoked to Jesus, we are not alone, even in our grief. Rest doesn’t mean escape from burdens most of the time.

Soul rest comes when we take up the yoke of Jesus. Because He does the heavy lifting, we can find soul rest.

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Daily Question

What do you think the disciples felt as the crowds came to them with all their needs? What do you think the disciples felt afterward, when they each held a basket of leftover bread and fish?

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Comments (4)

They must have been overwhelmed because they thought they would not be able to meet the needs of the hungry crowd and could have thought :Let someone else with more money or resources help them or let them go home to meet their own needs. I’m sure they must have felt very small and amazed at Jesus’ willingness and ability to take care of all of their hunger and have leftovers, though He had started out with so little–only 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread!

The disciples were clearly facing extreme fatigue and hunger themselves as they had been among the crowds preaching, healing, and sharing the news of Jesus. Their selfless obedience to the work of Christ left their bodies needing a pause so that they could be restored and renewed. They were at the end of themselves having little left to give physically and spiritually. Their gas tanks were on "E," their cups were empty, and their souls needed and longed for rest so desparately. What they thought would be a time to regroup and rest in the presence of Jesus was met with crowds hungry for spiritual and physical bread. Witnessing the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand demonstrated God’s provision and the fact that NOTHING is impossible for Him. Our human resources are limited, but with God, miracles happen, lives are changed, believers are made. He is limitless in His love as He cares for those who seek Him.

They were probably worried and afraid. When seeing that many people and knowing that they had no way to help them, they might have feared that riots would break out and the hungry people would come for them. I would imagine they felt relief and awe at what had been done and how it had been done. They too might have been at the end of their ropes in some way, hungry and tired, and not only were the people helped but each disciple was helped.

Overwhelmed is an understatement for how I would imagine they felt. We talked about this in small group, but when we are at the end of ourselves we give it over to Jesus to do the rest, beyond what our capacity will allow us.
I think they may have felt relief and wonder at Jesus’ miracle.

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