11 January 2013

Luke 5:12-16

"But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray." (vv. 15-16)


Throughout the passages we have read this week there has been a pattern of oscillation between public and private. In public Jesus does miraculous deeds (feedings and healings), teaches and is revealed to be the embodiment of God and the beginning of a new age. But this is balanced by a repeated withdrawing to be alone. In the wilderness, in the hills, in deserted places, Jesus withdraws to pray and to rest in God.

The epiphany is a revelation of who Jesus Christ is in his very being. The energy for that revelation is drawn from the time Jesus spends alone, simply being who he is. In his public revelation Jesus possesses an authority and a security - a rootedness in his own identity. He is rooted so firmly because he spends time alone being known by God and thereby knowing himself. The public revelation is dependent on the private reflection. The dynamic power of God displayed in Jesus' actions is drawn from a deep well of stillness and oneness with God. It is in this unshakable sense of self, this rootedness in his own identity, that Jesus stands when challenged and opposed by so many of his own people.  It is also the power of such absolute presence that provokes the crisis which so urgently demands a response.

To Ponder

  • What do you need to do in order to be deeply rooted in your own identity?
  • How do you balance activity with stillness and company with solitude? Do you feel tempted to prioritise one over the other?
  • Where does your energy come from?

Bible notes author

The Revd Anna Bishop

Anna Bishop is a wife, mother and Methodist presbyter. She is currently without appointment while her two small children teach her a spirituality of interruption! She is living in the Salisbury circuit, where she leads Baby-interrupted Bible Study and Little Blessings, a service of worship for babies, toddlers, pre-school children and their carers.