He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care. (Isaiah 53:3, NLT)
I don’t know about you, but pondering Isaiah 53:3 this Lent season has increased my appreciation for my Savior, challenged the level of joy I experience on a daily basis for my salvation, and convicted me of an often low-level commitment to use every breath of my life to glorify Jesus in all that I do.
All that I do.
We continue to grapple with the reality that our Savior’s last breath on earth occurred while He was hanging on a cross with His flesh shredded to pieces, His friends gone, and His enemies jeering. This week we focus on what it means that His friends were gone.
The disciples said they would never leave.
The evening Jesus was arrested, He had a last supper with his disciples. On an after dinner walk, Jesus told the disciples that all of them would desert Him (Mark 14: 29). Peter said he never would, and all the others vowed the same. (Mark 14:29, 31)
The disciples couldn’t stay awake to pray for Jesus.
After the last supper with his disciples, the path to crucifixion was directly in front of Jesus. He grew deeply troubled and distressed. Jesus asked His disciples to pray as He went a little farther and “fell to the ground.” Jesus asked the Father if there was any way He could be spared crucifixion, yet concluded, Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. (Mark 14:32-36) God’s will was that Jesus die to pay for our sin.
When he returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping three different times! (Mark 14:37-41)
The disciples ran away.
One of the twelve disciples, Judas Iscariot, had schemed to help Jesus get arrested. After Jesus was arrested, then all of his disciples deserted him and ran away. (March 14:50)
These are the disciples he had prayed for, selected by hand, instructed, traveled with, slept and eaten with, prayed for, and who had seen his miracles. All of that commitment and relationship. All of that time. All of that energy.
Jesus went to the cross alone.
Alone. Just Him and God, in the Spirit’s strength, to die for the sins of all people in history.
We have left Him alone too.
I began my Christian life wanting to take the world by storm and die as one of the best Christians God ever saw on this planet. Yet decades later, I can say I have skipped many prayer times and also, like the disciples, have fallen asleep during prayer. After three crushing blows to my heart in my early twenties, I even gave up on trying to live as a committed Christian. From age 25-32 there was nothing about my life externally that would have identified me as a Christ follower.
We will be asked to obey alone too.
When a middle school student is asked to participate in something he should not, and turns to leave, it is just God and Him in that moment. When a woman finds herself in an environment of being attracted to someone else besides her mate and is tempted to flirt, and turns to leave, it is just God and her in that moment. When a man finds himself alone with his computer, television or phone, and has his choice of clicks, it is just God and Him in those crucial micro-moments. For all of us who bear Christ’s name, may we too make the grueling decisions to obey when the path ahead calls for us to walk alone.
Jesus, thank you for going to the cross alone.
Picture Explanation: My husband turns 65 tomorrow. We celebrated early. He wanted steak. He got it! He didn’t want any gifts, but he needed shoes badly. He got them! He is older now so we celebrate with slices of cake instead of whole ones, and there are no longer enough candles to represent the years. Not enough room! He works hard and doesn’t get enough thanks. We celebrated him!
Need to catch up on the reflections of Isaiah 53:3 this Lent? Click HERE to ponder that life as a Christian will require sorrow. Click HERE to ponder His silence when mocked. Click HERE to ponder His shredded flesh for our sin.
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