Jesus spent time with crowds and had compassion for multitudes and children. But he often took his disciples away from the crowds so that he could teach them and talk with them. When we map parts of his journeys, it looks like he lost his compass and led his disciples aimlessly in the wilderness. And often, he went away from other people to talk with his Father. Just the two of them for hours on end.
I was thinking about solitude today. And about Jesus going off alone. And how hard that is for us. But then I remembered the wandering with the disciples and thought, “What if he still wants to do that?”
I mean what if Jesus still guides his followers away from the crowds and the chaos and the opposition and the praise? What if Jesus still wants to spend time in conversation with us in ways similar to conversations with Peter, James and John?
But how can we have conversations like Jesus and with Jesus? While Jesus may have been able to hear the Father’s voice, we can’t exactly hear either. And we can’t hear him like the disciples did.
But what if we took the places where Jesus talked to the disciples and we simply read what Jesus says and then we ask the questions the disciples ask.
In Matthew 15, for example, Jesus is talking with, against, and about the Pharisees. He makes a comment to the crowd.
The disciples say, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
And Jesus says, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
Read it out loud. Imagine you are the disciples. Can you hear Jesus?
I try to reflect this kind of relationship even in my public prayer. You can read it in “God. We Need You”: A Year of Prayer in a Hospital Chapel.