“That I would know Him…and the fellowship of His sufferings…” ~ Phil 3:11
“You will suffer some things alone…but it will show you what you’re made of…” ~ Cindertalk
The suffering of the cross began many hours before the nails pierced His hands. It started in a garden.
Just like the first suffering, it began in a garden.
The first time around, there was bliss and then betrayal and suffering.
In this garden, there was the kind of stress that made Him sweat blood. He who knew no sin became sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Then came the betrayal.
We don’t know exactly how close Jesus was to Judas. We read about Peter, James and John being in the inner circle. But we also know that at the last supper, when they all reclined at the table, Jesus sat beside Judas. So while John, the disciple Jesus loved, leaned his head against Jesus’ chest, listening to the Lord’s heartbeat, Jesus most likely reclined in such a way that His head leaned against Judas’s chest.
I don’t think He feigned friendship with Judas to teach us a lesson about forgiveness. I firmly believe that Jesus had genuine emotions—nothing artificial or superficial. His affections toward His friends are demonstrated by the way He behaved. He loved His friends and loved them to the end (John 13:1). He washed Judas’s feet even when He knew what Judas had prepared to do. Maybe to appeal to him.
Have you ever known that someone was hurting you and tried to appeal to the person’s better nature? Maybe you know what was going through Jesus’ mind and heart during those moments. Maybe you know it better than you ever wanted to.
And sometimes in the midst of all of that, when one friend kisses you with betrayal and all your other friends leave, you may feel utterly alone.
And this is the first station of the cross. Both betrayal and abandonment.
It didn’t end at the garden either. Peter followed closely enough that he could see Jesus getting interrogated by the Sanhedrin. In his fear, Peter denied that he knew his dearest Friend.
Also, Jesus came to His own, and His own knew Him not. There He stood before those who day in and day out studied the words that He gave them. They read all about Him, but refused to recognize Him. Instead, they bound His eyes and mockingly asked Him to prophesy. “Who hit You?” they derided.
Sometimes we suffer things absolutely alone.
He did too. He knows what that level of loneliness feels like. Not superficially, not artificially, but utterly, painfully real.
Yes, He chose this road, but that didn’t mean it hurt any less.
It does mean that He’s right there to offer a deep level of understanding you may not find anywhere else.
If this is you, if you’ve been betrayed beyond what you feel you can handle, do reach out to friends. If there’s no response, do know that there is one friend who sticks closer than a brother, a friend who is acquainted with the whole gamut of human suffering. He won’t try to compete or say His was worse than yours. He’ll just invite you to lay your head back against His chest and listen to His heart beat while He holds you.
Father, I thank you for sending Your Son to experience everything we do. I thank you that You didn’t spare Him. I ask that You would surround those reading this with Your presence, especially those who are suffering from the sting of betrayal. I ask that You would reveal Your love for us in greater measure than ever before. I pray this in the Name of Jesus. Amen!
God bless you!