This chair is my new favorite place. Love. it. We picked it up this week, and it sits in the corner of my bedroom. You know, the room with a door that can be closed if I’m craving quiet. Yes, that one. I’ve mostly been using it with the door wide open, but I know that the door is there, just in case I need it. It’s the perfect little spot for me to enjoy the relaxing pace of our spring break.
This morning, I had my quiet time in my new chair. Although I’ve pretty much dropped the Bible-reading-ball so far this week, I decided to open up to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Actually, to the pre-story. I turned to Matthew 26 and began reading right through the scene in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-56).
The loneliness of it broke my heart.
Jesus went walking with the disciples, his closest companions. They weren’t his employees; they were his friends. And while they were walking together, he became visibly troubled and sorrowful.
He took his three best friends from the group and went off with just them. These were the ones who should have known him best. Who should have been able to read him better than the others. They should have felt his pain and sympathized with his sorrow, even if they didn’t fully understand it. He took them aside with him for a reason.
But instead of comforting him, they fell asleep. Three times he returned to them and found them sleeping. He was alone in that garden. Even with his dearest friends nearby, he was utterly alone.
Then, as if it wasn’t bad enough that his best friends couldn’t fight off sleep to be there for him, one of his other companions – someone whom he had loved – brought an army to arrest him. Jesus knew it was going to happen; it wasn’t a surprise to him. Still, watching Judas proudly leading that group of soldiers must have been sickening. In that moment, after being emotionally abandoned by his true friends, this false friend’s betrayal was another slap in the face.
That must have hurt. All of it must have hurt.
Jesus had feelings. I forget that. I forget that he laughed and loved. And cried. Even though he knew beforehand, before the foundation of the world, how the beautiful and awful picture of forgiveness and grace was going to be painted with his shed blood, that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel every heart-wrenching bit of it.
He felt the pain of it. He felt the physical pain for sure, but he felt the emotional pain, too. Before the accusations and beatings, he suffered. He suffered alone. He suffered so that he can sympathize with my suffering.
He was surely tempted by the same thoughts that I usually give in to during my lonely times. But he didn’t give in. He didn’t sin or fall into self-pity. He suffered the pain and temptation without the relief of giving up.
And when I’m trying to manage my home and discipline my kids and I’m all alone and I’m failing….He’s felt the pain of the loneliness and the pain of my sin. He has suffered and died and bled for it. All of it. He knows my pain and my deepest sorrows because he experienced it. For me.
To think that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
His perfection for my imperfection. His loneliness for my self-pity. His sinlessness for my sinfulness.
It’s too much. It isn’t fair.