Why Jesus Went to “the Other Side”

the other sideAway from people.

The other side is the side away from the people, the bustle, the frantic commotion, and the unrest. Jesus’ ministry on earth was fueled by His desire to do the will of His Father. Scripture says He went about “doing good”. He healed everyone who came to him. Can you imagine the people who flocked to him – those who wanted to be healed and those who wanted to watch the miracles?

By the end of the day, wasn’t He peopled out?!

Is that why He told his disciples to go to the other side of the lake – to get away? Did He realize they needed time to recharge, refuel, and unwind? Did He need that also?

This side

The people thronged Jesus and His disciples. Everywhere they went, there were people. I used to feel that way when I had a house full of kiddos who wanted me and wanted all of me all of the time!

No matter what stage of life we are in, or where our ministry is, we can identify. We need space and time – and we need to get away from the pressing, restless throng. Yet, what do we do when the needs are still present, the cries can still be heard, and the voices are not silent?

Go rest in a different place

When we go rest on the other side, we give our bodies and emotions time to rest and recharge, even if it is only for the duration of the ride on the boat to the other side. Jesus calls us to do that.

One day after ministering to the throbbing mob, when they did not even have time to eat, Jesus told His disciples, “Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile.”

Jesus wasn’t sending them on vacation. He wasn’t retiring them from ministry. He knew their needs and knew they could better serve if they got some rest.

In the days before this, the disciples were sent out two-by-two. They preached, cast out demons, called people to repentance, and healed the sick.  They also buried John the Baptist. No wonder they needed rest. So, at Jesus’ invitation, they headed to the other side of the sea to find rest.

But when they got to the other side, they were met by a crowd of people who were like a sheep without a shepherd. Jesus had compassion on the people and took the time to teach them. Then the disciples handed out loaves and fish to the 5,000 men (plus women and children) who sat on the hillside in groups of 100. Are we tired yet?!

Then, immediately, Jesus sent His disciples across the Galilean sea to the other side (Bethsaida) while He sent the people away. After retreating to a mountain to pray, Jesus strolled across the water to get to the other side. Initially, the disciples were petrified when they saw a man walking on water. When the disciples recognized Jesus, they welcomed him into the boat with them.

Once again, when they landed on shore, the people found Jesus. He kept doing what He had done before. He healed the sick and ministered to their needs.

the other sideWhat going to the other side does for us

Going to the other side does for us what it did for the disciples.

  • Rest. Sometimes our bodies need rest so we can think more clearly.
  • Respite. Respite indicates that it is for a time, and not for retirement. We become rejuvenated, and then return to our work.
  • Renewed perspective. The other side gives us a renewed way of looking at our ministry. What has worked and what is not working? What is my goal? Whose instructions am I following?
  • Restoration. We gain a deeper vision for our calling.  When we spend time with the Master, we are strengthened. He calms the wind and the waves. He walks on water and enters our boat. Our sight is clearer, our vision firmer because He is near.

The call of Christ

When Jesus invited His disciples to go to the other side, it was so they could find rest, not retirement. He wanted them refreshed, not stagnant. Jesus knew they needed strength for the work at hand, but He wasn’t sending them on vacation from Kingdom work.

We can’t continue our work if we are worn out and frazzled. Nor does He expect us to give unceasingly without taking time to restore our souls.

Yet, the call of Christ is on-going and never-ending, right up to the end of our lives. He might change our task, but He never puts us out to pasture. He might redirect our mission, but He never asks us to retreat into obscurity. Click To Tweet

Going to the other side of the sea guarantees restoration so we can continue to face life’s challenges. He calls us to be faithful no matter on which side of the sea we are, and that call never, ever ends.

Pinterest Jesus to the other side

 

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