"That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake." Matthew 13: 1
Let's stop there, as I did this morning. I'd meant to read all of chapter 13 for my devotional time. But I couldn't get past this single verse. I love these glimpses of Jesus in ordinary moments. He just went out of some house (we don't even know whose) and sat by a lake, simply sat there. Perhaps He was communing with God, having time with His Father as we're told He did in the desert or the hills or the Garden of Gethsemane. But maybe He was just enjoying the quiet for a moment before the rush of the day began. Maybe He looked at the water, listened to the gentle waves, felt the wind on His face, and was at peace.
He didn't have many moments like this during those years with the disciples, living on the road, as they did. Once the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, there was always another person who moved Him to compassion. More stories to tell, more Kingdom to be proclaimed, one way or another. And that Kingdom had come was what HE had come to proclaim. "The Kingdom is among you. Right here, right now, in your midst, because I'm here," He'd come to say, by His very presence, by His actions, by His sideways parables, by His sending out of those He'd called to be His emissaries to the ends of the earth.
But Jesus spent thirty years or so years on this earth living a hidden life in a backwoods town. "Does anything good come out of Nazareth?" implies just how backwoods that place really was. We can't imagine. To us, Nazareth looms large because our Lord grew up there. But it was like growing up on the wrong side of the wrong side of the tracks, if there can be such a place. But that hidden town afforded Jesus the space to live quietly for a long time. He who was with God in the beginning (see John 1), had time and opportunity to see creation from behind human eyes. He felt the comfort of a mother's hug and tasted the goodness of simple cooking of simple people.
Think of all that Jesus experienced in those years He lived in the quiet town of Nazareth.
Think of how He must have loved this earth.
He looked around at every bush and saw it alive with beauty,
alive with the presence of the Creator.
Because He knew who had created it.
And yes, I think He knew not only who had created it, but who HE was in relation to the Creator because of the only story we have between His birth and His baptism. At twelve years old, He knew who He was, and He expected His parents to know it, too. "Didn't you know I would be in my Father's house?" They didn't understand, but He expected them to (see Luke 2: 49)
Other than that one scene, though, we have no picture of Jesus' life before He came to the river to be baptized by John.
So little moments like this one where He sits by the lake give me pause. They remind me that He was also a man. A real, fully human man. He needed to breathe in the silence. He liked the sweetness sitting by a quiet lake.
Hey, I like that too.
It's only a moment, however. The crowd is coming, will press in so closely around Him that He will get into a boat in order to teach them. Maybe in order not to be trampled by their needs. Another day when a crowd does press hard, He actually feels a woman among them touch Him differently. But that's a story for another time.
It's not for these quiet moments that He came.
It's for the moments when power goes out of Him, and a person is healed or changed.
Or the moment when He gets in the boat and begins to teach.
Or when He calls a person.
But I like this moment.
And I want to share it with Him.