We all need a break. I pray you have all had a good Christmas break. We have had a good break. It is good to set aside time to just regenerate, recuperate and re-energize.
In John 10:40-42, we find Jesus leaving Jerusalem and going East. Jesus escapes to Perea. The question is, what does Jesus escape. Why does He have to escape? Is He fearful for his life?
If we review what has happened, Jesus is no-where fearful for His own life. In John 5:18, the Jews sought to kill him. In 8:59 they took up stones to cast at him. Then in 10:31 they took up stones again. Three times in this short period they sought to kill Him. What was Jesus’ response to these threats?
In response to the evil hearts of man in 5:18, we find Jesus in verse 19 identifying His actions with the will of the Father. He stood His ground. In response to 8:59, Jesus walked right through their midst then stopped, halted by His compassion in 9:1-2. Jesus healed the man born blind. In 10:31 when the Jews took up stones again, Jesus again identifies these works with the will of the Father and challenges them to identify for what activity they would stone Him. They are challenged because Jesus tells them He works God’s will, accomplishes the Fathers directives. God commissions and uses Jesus to complete His work. Jesus, as in chapter 5, tells them they are set against the Father’s will in their action.
Is Jesus running for His life. These testimonies and responses clearly identify a Messiah that is tough, resolute and fearless. The only logical reason Jesus departs for Perea is to take a break. He needs to reenergize. He needs a respite. If we look forward we find that very soon Jesus will enter His last week of life. He will ride into Jerusalem on Monday to rejoicing and fanfare and by Friday He will be put on the cross, crucified for our salvation. He knows all this is coming. He knows the empty worship they will give Him. He knows how strong He must be to enter this final phase of His ministry. He knows all the false piety that surrounds Him, all those who claim to know the Father, to believe in God, to believe in the Messiah that will reject Him, catcall Him, despise Him (Is 53:3). The scripture tells us He was a man of sorrows.
Understand Jesus simply needed a break from the darkness, from the foreboding, hatred, false testimonies, arrogance and deception. No wonder ministers for the Lord need a break. We are all under the scriptural requirement to esteem others higher than ourselves. Just as Jesus needed to look past the unbelief and lacking faith He knew was in every heart surrounding Him, we too must be strong enough to look past the obvious. All ministers need a break at times to maintain our optimism, to sustain our compassion and objectivity.