John 6 tell us of when Jesus, in effect, ran away! Thousands of people had just experienced a great miracle, when Jesus fed the multitude ,a miracle recorded in all four gospels. People saw miracles which happened to others, but when they personally experience something miraculous, it makes a greater impression. The text says “when they had seen this sign” they said, “This is truly the prophet who is to come into the world” (verse 14) and they then “were about to come and take him by force and make him King” (verse 15).
The next verse reads, “He departed again to a mountain by himself alone”. Why did he do this? He was, in effect, running away from them. Remember that one of the temptations in the wilderness was an invitation for him to take rulership over all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8,9). Remember also how he answered Pilate’s question, “So you are a king?” by saying, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world” (John 18:37).
What a temptation this was then for him to take this opportunity to be proclaimed king immediately – his Father had given him unlimited power (John 3:34) and his destiny was to bring justice to the world by ruling over all. But this would be doing the right thing the wrong way! This is an extreme example of the more subtle and dangerous temptations we have in life.
Those who think Jesus is God are unable to comprehend this; but recall the words in Hebrews that our High Priest (Jesus) is “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are” (4:15). The Apostle Paul, despite his dedication in serving Christ admits, “I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (Romans 7:23). It is clear Jesus was tempted in the same way, but “the law of sin” never won.
Let us follow the example of Jesus and aim to run away from temptations by doing something else, thinking of something else, or by calling a Bible passage to mind as Jesus did in his wilderness temptations – or, as we have just read, by ‘running away’ to a private place to pray.