This morning, as with yesterday morning, in my morning quiet time I was re-reading John 6, paying particular attention to verse 15. Jesus has just fed 5,000 people and he's getting caught up in people's expectations.
Verse 15 reads, "Jesus realized that they would try to force him to be their king. So he went up on a mountain, where he could be alone." After doing some amazing things the crowds were growing and their expectations were growing too, all things were building up, it appears, to the apparently inevitable conclusion that Jesus was their day-to-day earthly king. There must have been an awful lot of worldly expectation to go with such a projected outcome. Maybe Jesus realized that they would try to force Him to be their king. So He went up on a mountain, where He could be alone. Expectations regarding Jesus freeing Jerusalem from the Romans, expectations about uniting God's people, dealing with foreigners, sorting out taxes, criminal cases, petty arguments in the street, about who was more important. So much expectation...
The people didn't have God's picture, His insight into what Jesus was to accomplish. I love that Jesus went up a mountain to be alone, He took a step back from people's expectations, He took a step back from the pressures of His public life. What did He do? I imagine He prayed, like He prayed whenever He went somewhere to be alone. But not totally alone. Alone with His Father.
People's expectations can be too much; they can weigh us down, positively drown us, stifle us, snuff out creativity and imprison freedom and expression. What is Jesus expecting of us? Forget what the crowd thinks or expects? What about God? Maybe we need to retreat to a mountain to be alone. But not totally alone. Alone with God, our Father.