Jesus' loneliness

Thursday night Heather and I washed each other's feet and prayed and had communion together. One of the things I mentioned in prayer was how alone Jesus was during this time. I'm reminded of these lines:

Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. (Mt 26.56)

Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mk 15.34)

I've heard people say that Jesus suffered certain things for us, so that we won't have to. Usually they're speaking of persecution or poverty: Jesus was poor so we can be "blessed" (materially wealthy); Jesus was mistreated so Christianity would conquer and we can be comfortable, respected Christians... I think that's obviously false. Jesus promised that his disciples would be persecuted (if they were faithful to him). And he taught them that the poor are blessed, that they should sell all and give, even their last two cents.

But one thing that I think Jesus did bear for us (so we don't have to) is that utter loneliness. Being completely isolated from others and even from God. Jesus suffered to unite us with God, and so also make us one with others who are one with God. Not that we experience this all the time. I've often felt completely alone in a room full of people who call themselves Christians. But he made it possible and promised that "I am with you always," and we can encounter him again and again in those faithful ones he puts in our path. We need never experience utter abandonment.

Jesus died to give us himself and his people.