Jesus knew when to seek solitude. When his cousin John the Baptist died, He was likely grieving and hurting pretty badly. Wanting to be alone to pray, He got on a boat and set out for a lonely place to get away from the crowds. Since He was well-known by this time, people followed Him everywhere He went — anyone who had a problem wanted Him to solve it.
After sailing for awhile, Jesus finally found a few moments to Himself, but word got out that He was in a strange secluded place on a beach, and the crowds started coming again (in fact, it was more like a mob). The Bible says that 5,000 men, not counting women and children, came to Jesus to have Him meet their needs, all while He was trying to grieve the loss of His friend and spend some time with His Father. Filled with compassion and mercy, He didn’t turn the crowd away, but He laid aside His needs and began to heal people. When night fell and the multitudes had nothing to eat, He told His disciples to multiply the loaves and fishes, and the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 happened. When the crowd finally dispersed, Jesus instructed His disciples to get back on the boat so that He could go up on the hill, most likely to pick up where He left off and spend some much-needed time with His Father.
You see, friend, Jesus was fully God and fully man. He set an example for us in seeking times of rest and solitude when life hit Him hard. He was not rigid in keeping a schedule, and as He was moved with compassion to heal the crowds, He did so. However, He did not forget about taking care of His soul. After He gave, He dismissed the crowd and went up on the mountain to pray and rest. This is the rhythm you and I need to follow as disciples of His healing and compassion. We can’t be “on” all the time. We, too, need periods of refreshing for our souls so that we can continue to do what He calls us to.