Who Comes First?

As soon as He heard that His cousin and forerunner had been beheaded by Herod, Jesus sought refuge in the wilderness. He wanted to be alone for a while.Perhaps He sought time to ponder the career of the brave prophet. The execution of John would also remind Jesus of the inevitable fate of all faithful spokesmen of God. With opposition from the Pharisees growing, He could foresee that His own early death was certain. His plan for a personal retreat with His disciples was frustrated, however, by the eagerness of the crowds. They chased him on foot to the other side of the lake and sought His healing touch. We know from other sources that they also desired to hear His heavenly teaching. Jesus faced a choice: Would He disperse the crowd, insisting on His own longing for rest and His right to a bit of privacy? After all, He had worked tirelessly on their behalf for quite a while already. Did He not deserve some respite, a little vacation, especially while He grieved the loss of John? Or would He put aside His own desires, abandon His own agenda, forget His own needs, and answer the call of the crowds? For most of us, the dilemma would have been acute. But for the one who came “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many,” the outcome was certain: “He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” Not only so, but at the end of a long and tiring day, He insisted that this demanding assembly of needy people be invited to dinner, despite the lack of food! No wonder we adore Him!