But there is one person who still stands as the loneliest of all.
This morning I was reading Matthew 27, the story of Jesus going to the cross. It’s pretty brutal stuff, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a rated R story (see The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson).
Let me give some context to the story:
- Jesus had been arrested and His friends (the disciples) were AWOL! They ran, and one even kicked him to the curb by denying that he even knew Jesus.
- His family was nowhere to be found.
- The judge assigned to his case (Pilate) was an indecisive weakling.
- The guards assigned to him took advantage of their power and his weakened state by beating and mocking him.
- Once on the cross, the religious leaders made fun of him… in front of the crowd that was watching.
- Finally, even the thugs who were being crucified alongside of him “heaped insults on him.”
This was a man alone.
While hanging on the cross, after being lied about, abandoned, betrayed, abused, and denied justice, Jesus heard these words from the mouths of the religious leaders, “He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him….” (Matthew 27:43).
STOP FOR A SECOND
Ever been there? Alone? Scared? Victim of injustice? Mocked? Abandoned? And you knew, “My only hope now is God! If He cares, He’ll come through!” And then you waited…
RESUME THE STORY
Just a few verses later (probably a matter of minutes after the mocking), Jesus “cried out in a loud voice” (i.e. He screamed out) “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
And at that moment it becomes clear… Jesus was lonelier than any person has been or will ever be. His Father, God, was all Jesus had left, and He (God) did not come to the rescue.
If he had heard the words of the religious leaders, “If God wants Him, He will rescue Him” (Matthew 27:43), Jesus must have concluded on the evidence of God’s “no show” that, like everyone else, God no longer wanted Him.
And yet that is not the end of the story.
After the brutal crucifixion came the glorious resurrection.
Today Jesus is “the name above every name” (Philippians 2:9). Today He is the friend of billions (or more) people! Today He is the hope of every lonely person in the world!
Before honor there was pain (loneliness was only part of the pain He experienced). Before He could relate He had to experience. Before become the greatest friend He had to go through the greatest loneliness.
Here’s what I am walking away with from this lesson:
- Jesus knows what it means to be lonely. I can talk to Him about my own loneliness and He REALLY understands.
- Jesus pressed on through His experience of loneliness and found honor and significance on the other side of it. I too must press on, but where Jesus had no one… I at least have the pleasure of His friendship!
- As in all stories of people of significance, behind every public accomplishment there are, often, many periods of brokenness, failure, loneliness and pain.
Lonely? Don’t stop! Talk to Jesus!
Ready to quit? Don’t stop! The breakthrough will follow the breakdown if you keep trusting in Jesus and plodding forward!
My prayer for you, and me, today is that we will be reminded of the love of God for you and me and the companionship of Jesus, for those who trust in Him, as we walk through this day!