Alone on a Friday: Isolation, identification and the deserted savior of the world Alternate
Sometimes a word or phrase arrests us with its simplicity and weight. This is especially true in a season when a certain term is particularly important. "Alone" is just a word. Many of us understand the term in a different light than before.
Social distancing, quarantine and isolation are now part of everyday life. We are not used to older people who are sick living alone in hospitals that are separated from the family. We are dealing with healthcare workers who need to remain isolated from their families while working with COVID-19 patients. We are moved by the scenes of decades of spouses who prefer to wave from outside the glass of a nursing home window.
Let's face it, we Americans love our freedom and the resulting individualism. But we love our individualism because we can decide when and with whom we want to spend time. We like to be separated from people, but only if we can choose. We cannot avoid the fact that we are social beings.
The important level of social distancing that appears to have a positive impact on the spread of COVID-19 shows that "America's individualistic framework is profoundly unsuitable for dealing with an infectious pandemic" as our thinking "moves from one individual to another" changed. first to a common ethos. "
So most of the time "alone" is not such a big deal. But for many at the moment alone means very lonely, unconnected and fearful. However, this is not the only predictive expression that needs to be considered.
Let me give you another one.
The ultimate oxymoron
This expression is the ultimate oxymoron that the death of our Savior would make this day so good. It is another term that we all know well and that is celebrated every year as part of Holy Week as it refers to the high hosanna of Easter.
But this year means Good Friday a little bit more, doesn't it? In times when we have difficulties, we turn to the rooted truth.
We can forget a central part of history in the familiarity of Good Friday and the wonderful ceremonies of the season. Jesus, who did well that day, was isolated. He put down his life as a substitute for sins, carried such weight and faced such pain, and he essentially did so alone.
He kept telling his students about his impending death and they just didn't understand it. It had to be lonely that your companions with whom you had lived and invested missed the point.
He brought his closest allies to Gethsemane, where he tortured himself in prayer and dripped blood when he prostrated himself before his father.
And what did his trustworthy disciples do?
One of the 12 betrayed him openly, and as once did the other disciples, "everyone left him and fled" (Mark 14, 50). When religious advice mocked him, spat in his face, and hit him, his boldest student, Peter, denied him. At that moment Lukas tells us: "And the Lord turned and looked at Peter." It had to be a very lonely moment.
Soldiers – an entire battalion, Matthew says – spat on him, put on a purple robe, and beat him. A thorny crown was pressed into the flesh of his forehead. Those who were created by him abused him angrily.
He stood before Pilate without a lawyer.
He was whipped by a whip that killed more than a few men. When he had the opportunity to be released, the crowd chose an ordinary insurgent named Barabbas to replace the King of Glory.
Alone was very close to the Son of Man.
He was crucified. Such a brutal way to die. Two obvious criminals hung on crosses on either side, and both mocked him. But in the midst of agony, Jesus showed mercy to those who cried out for mercy. Soldiers fought for his few possessions. People who passed by mocked him.
Imagine how alone he must have felt when Jesus hung between heaven and earth. Then Mark 15:34 called up records: "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?", Which means: "My God, my God, why did you leave me?"
You probably already knew that. You recognize it as one of the last seven words of Christ on the cross. But look at it again this year. Jesus was absolutely painfully alone.
A commentary on this sentence shows how Jesus cries out to God at the moment in the immeasurable pain of divine abandonment (see Is. 59: 2; Hab. 1:13), which he suffers as a substitute for sinful mankind. "( 1)
We celebrate our Lord as our lawyer this time of year, and we should too. We should also remember this Good Friday that “it was despised and rejected by men; a man of worry who is familiar with grief ”(Isa 53: 3).
If it is particularly difficult to be alone during this pandemic, look at the one who has experienced loneliness at a level that we will never experience precisely because he faced what he did for us on the cross. But Jesus experienced more than loneliness. He sympathizes with our weaknesses (Heb 4:15). He redeemed us into a family (Eph. 2:19). And he will eventually remove it (Rev 21,4).
Good Friday indeed.
Ed Stetzer is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, dean at Wheaton College, and publishes resources for church leadership through the Mission Group. The Exchange team contributed to this article.
(1) Crossway Bibles. ESV Study Bible (Kindle Locations 122690-122691). Good news publishers / crossway books. Kindle Edition.