10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison,
11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
12 Then his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.
13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from where he was in a boat to a secluded place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
14 When he went ashore he saw a large crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
no time for recovery
Sometimes you just want to get away. When by chance you are confronted with the evil and tragedy that is the human condition, you long for a time of rest away from it all – away from them all.
For Jesus and the twelve, that getaway came by boat. They were escaping Herod, who had added to his sins of adultery and incest and lust and false imprisonment the singular sin of murder. He was the king, and he feared Jesus as he had feared John. It made sense to get as far away from Herod as possible.
Besides, when faced with such a shock to the system as the news of the senseless murder of a friend, the soul craves for solace, for quiet, for peace. The mind refuses the ordinary. The hands cannot work. You need time for recovery.
Jesus and his disciples found that peace for a short time as they traveled by boat, seeking a secluded, deserted place. But when they arrived at their intended destination, they found a large crowd waiting for them to come ashore. I would have been tempted to keep going. Jesus saw the crowd the same way he saw the whole planet. Even if it costs his own life, he cannot turn aside. He came to serve the needy. His own needs would have to wait.
LORD, thank you for your unwavering compassion. Teach us to love and serve others, as you have loved and served us.