disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told
Jesus. When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat
privately to a solitary place." (Matt
When Jesus hears the sad news of the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, His reaction is no different from any that you or I might have made: He withdrew . . . to a solitary place! He wanted to be alone! The loss of not only His cousin, but also the loss of what He Himself termed "The greatest prophet that ever lived" must have been a heavy weight for Him to bear, and his first response was withdrawal to a solitary place so that He could turn to His source of strength: His Father.
But let's look at the 2nd half of verse 13: "Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. (Matt. 14:13b)
Did Jesus make it to His "solitary place"? No! The crowds wouldn't let Him be alone.
How would you and I react in a similar situation? I, for one, might have been tempted to say: "Leave me alone! Can't you see I'm grieving? My cousin was just murdered. I need time alone with my Father!"
But this wasn't Jesus' reaction at all! Matt 14:14: When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick."
Jesus wasn't allowed to grieve for John, but He didn't sweat it. He simply cared for the needs of the people around Him above His own needs, allowing God to continue to use Him, all the while drawing His strength directly from the Source, His heavenly Father.
What an example of selflessness! What an example of love for others! Lord, may we be able to follow in His footsteps! May we be willing to want to put our concerns for others above our own personal needs and feelings!