When I was working in Japan as a salaryman, I was hating life. One hour commute one-way on a train and you are packed in like sardines. And the deodorant market has not penetrated Japan yet because they don’t know what deodorant is in Japan. The first thing we would teach Christians in Japan after they got saved was to use deodorant. I gave deodorant as gifts to the Japanese Christian brothers at church. I was trying to be subtle, but I guess I wasn’t that tactful.
On the train, we’d be all crammed into a train and to maintain balance, we’d be holding the subway handles. And that means, armpits were exposed. And esp. in the summertime, fumes would be coming from those armpits. Just to say, after a long day of working in Japan, I felt entitled to a nice dinner. Even better, a nice dinner with friends.
But that is kind of what’s happening here.
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” ~Mark 6:30-31
Many people were coming and going. They were so busy that they didn’t have time to eat. Some people are like that. They eat to live and they forget to eat when they are busy. I live to eat. And I never forget to eat. So if I were one of those disciples, in the back of my mind, I’d be thinking, man, when we are going to eat?
These disciples must be hungry and tired. Then, Jesus says, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” And they must have thought, yeah, it’s about time. These guys are fishermen. I imagine Peter being a burly guy. He’s a fisherman so he must have always been eating some sushi fishing boat. I bet he was a bit chubby and he loved to eat food. I think after Jesus died and resurrected, Peter was running to the empty tomb along with John and John outran him, right? It’s because Peter is a bit overweight. He loves food.
And Peter must have been — finally, we get to eat! And not just eat. They are going to a quiet place where there are no crowds. And it will be a time of rest with Jesus and your closest friends. Some rest and relaxation. Like a mini-vacation. I bet they were all looking forward to it.
And you can’t even get there on foot.
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. ~Mark 6:32
They had to go by boat. It’s like a dinner cruise. It’s fun, it’s relaxing.
It was the perfect end to a long day. They deserve some rest and some food and good fellowship. They earned it.
But what happens? They get interrupted.
33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. ~Mark 6:33
This crowd is smart. They somehow knew the destination of where they were heading and were waiting for Jesus on the other side.
Was Jesus ambushed? No, of course, he knew the crowd was going to be waiting for him. He obviously was trying to teach his disciples an object lesson. He is the best teacher because he was not lecturing in a classroom, but life was his classroom and as they lived life, he would teach them along the way.