The gospel of Mark is definitely in my top 4 books about Jesus. Get it?
But seriously, Mark is such an interesting take on Jesus’ life. From the very beginning we see Jesus going, doing, teaching, healing, driving out demons, and gathering a massive following. Mark loves the word “immediately.” It’s just one thing after another.
To the Roman reader, this would have been business as usual. Romans were pretty much workaholics. Sun up to sun down, seven days a week, except for certain holidays and festivals. Time off was rare. If you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. It was dog-eat-dog. So it makes sense why Mark would portray Jesus as a man of action. Always on the go. Always with things to do, places to go, and people to see. A fully booked schedule.
And it’s right in the middle of it all that we see Jesus doing something out of the ordinary. He took time to REST. Not just sleeping in on a Saturday or lounging on the couch watching football all afternoon kind of rest. But this was a truly rejuvenating rest. It was a chance for him to escape the crowds and focus on the one relationship that really matters – his relationship with God.
Mark tells us that Jesus went out early in the morning even before the sun came up. He found a solitary place and prayed. He disconnected. He unplugged. He logged off. He silenced all the distractions around him and focused.
How many of us need that today? Across the board, Americans are the most overworked people of all the developed nations. We work the longest days with the least time off. Add to that the constant beeping, buzzing, and dinging of our devices trying to pull our already stretched attention in just one more direction. We have to drop everything we’re doing and respond to that text, that email, that phone call. Because if we don’t, others will think they aren’t important to you! We feel guilty for ignoring someone who isn’t even taking the time to talk with you in person.
With all our busy-ness, our relationships are suffering. Family and friends are placed second to work, and God is LUCKY if he gets a whole hour out of an entire week!
Things haven’t changed much since Jesus’ day. This is evident in the words of Jesus’ disciples when they finally track him down (How did they ever survive without cell phones?). When they find him, they are upset that he has been ignoring them and everyone else: “Everyone is looking for you!”
It’s so easy for us to feel guilty for wanting to take some time to ourselves. But if Jesus needed that time, then how much more do we?!
Take a deep breath, and then press the power button. Close your “Windows,” log off, sign out, and unplug. But not just for yourself. Do this so that you can connect to God, be plugged in to His Spirit, and zoom in on His Word.