It may surprise you to know that Jesus, as both divine and human, honored his humanity by setting healthy boundaries. There are multiple times in the Gospels when he takes time to eat, rest, and be in solitude, despite being overwhelmingly sought-out by those in need. He didn’t always say yes when asked to do something, and he often held those in need responsible for their own redemption. What’s more, Jesus spoke out against inappropriate behavior and spoke the truth in love, even when he knew it might hurt. Let’s explore a few times when Jesus set boundaries. --The need for rest. In the Gospel of Mark alone, Jesus takes seven spiritual retreats -- either alone or with his disciples. Just before feeding the five thousand, Jesus takes the disciples away in a boat to a quiet place (Mark 6:30-32). Before he walks on water, he goes to the mountainside to pray (Mark 6:45-46). Before his passion, he secludes himself in Gethsemane to pray (Mark 14:32-42). It’s true that many people needed Jesus, and he could have used that “alone time” to heal and teach, but he knew he needed rest in order to be at his best. --Sticking to your purpose. In Mark 1:35-38, Jesus gets up early to be in solitude, and Simon comes and tells him, “Everyone is looking for you.” Rather than going back to whoever is looking for him, Jesus pushes the disciples ahead to other villages he means to visit. --Speaking the truth. Jesus did not mince words. When he saw the Temple being turned into a marketplace, he drove the vendors out. When the disciples were keeping the children from him, he said, “Let the children come.” When a rich man asked for salvation, he told him to go and sell his possessions. --Holding others responsible. Often, when someone asked for Jesus’s help, he asked something of them. Take John 5:1-14, where he tells the invalid to pick up his mat and walk. Other times, he demands faith of those who want to be healed.
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