Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Importance Of Time Alone With God

Matthew 14:23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray, When evening came He was there alone.

How many times do we see this picture in the gospels; Jesus going off by Himself to pray? This was where Jesus connected with His Father, this is how He re-energized for the mission He was on. But that is not all that was happening here. Jesus had just miraculously fed five thousand men, plus women and children. After they had eaten, He dismissed the crowds and He dismissed the disciples; the text tells us that "He made the disciples get into a boat" which suggests that they didn't want to leave Him. If we look at the parallel passage in John chapter six we see that the reason they were all sent away was because they (the crowds) were about to come and take Him by force and make Him their king (John 6:15). The fact that He also sent the disciples away may indicate that they were also thinking that this would have been a good opportunity for Jesus to assert His authority and set up His earthly kingdom.

We see in Luke's account of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness that "when the devil had ended every temptation he departed Him until an opportune time." (Luke 4:13 ESV). This could very well have been one of those opportune times in Jesus' life. This temptation would have been very much like the third temptation in the wilderness, where the devil offered Him all of the kingdoms of the world, because here was a crowd of probably up to 25 thousand people all wanting to make Him king. But by becoming king now He would have had to bypass the cross. We don't know for sure what was going through His mind at this time, but we can take away from this the example that Jesus set for us in the face of temptation. The text tells us that "He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray."

We all face numerous temptations every day, and each one of them is an opportunity to resist and obey God. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that with every temptation God will provide us a way of escape. If we choose not to take that way we end up in sin, but that doesn't mean the way wasn't there; it just means that we either failed to see it, or failed to take it. We need to make it a habit to get alone with God to pray, especially when we are in the face of temptation. Just like Jesus did.
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1 comment:

david said...

Thanks, insightful post.