“And His disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. Now when Jesus heard this, He withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by Himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed Him on foot from the towns. When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
(Matthew 14: 12-15 ESV)
Mourning….defined in its simplest form is grief over someone’s death. Grief which can be so unimaginable, so unbearable, so painful, so difficult to explain with mere words, yet we all have experienced its strangling grip hold of deepened sorrow in a world where physical death is certain, and of its most brutal pain, and of the emotional burdens which follow, the loss of someone we loved so very dearly….
“Now when Jesus heard this, He withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by Himself…”
Right before Jesus performed one of His many and wondrous miracles….the feeding of the five thousand….He was given the devastating news of His cousin’s death…..the one who paved the way for His ministry. Many biblical scholars have identified Christ’s action of withdrawal in a boat to a desolate place as avoiding the threat of Herod and the pressing of the crowds for Jesus’ time had not yet come, yet there may be something even more wondrous, more miraculous, and even more incredible within this passage…..
Jesus was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3) Even in His Sovereignty, hearing the devastating news of John the Baptist’s death must have been a sorrowful moment for Christ, as He searched for seclusion….for just a simple moment of privacy…. a quick pause to perhaps grieve the loss of a loved one. But this is not the most wondrous, miraculous, and incredible part of this passage…. What is merely incredible, most incomprehensible is despite Jesus being identified as a Man of sorrows in which He was very well acquainted with grief….He was still able to have compassion on the crowds which followed Him on foot and heal the sick who followed Him there…
Jesus……despised and rejected by men (Isa. 53:3)….yet He healed them…..by touching the lepers……giving sight to the blind….. And healing the deaf and mute…..
Seeking the seclusion of a private moment… yet placing the needs of a broken and fallen humanity before His own…..
Overwhelmed with compassion for others despite His own present and current grief….
Despite His own-impending sorrows……