I never really thought much about it, until now. But, tonight was a really lonely night for Jesus. We love to talk about the cross, but at least His mother was there, and John showed up for that. But, what about the loneliness of Thursday. What a weird night that was.
Many denominations typically have foot washing or communion services tonight to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Many talk about sacrifice and Jesus washed even Judas’s feet that night. Don’t forget the awkward exchange between Peter and Jesus. It went something like this. “No, Jesus you can’t wash my feet.” “Peter, if I don’t wash your feet you are not clean.” “Ok, Lord than wash my whole body.” “No, Simon I will not wash your whole body. Just think before you talk. You will understand later.” “Ok, Jesus!”
Jesus had the last supper, but they didn’t get it. They walked to Gethsemane, but they still didn’t get it. He asked them to pray, but they fell asleep. He became so intense that His sweat became like drops of blood, as Luke records for us.
He was betrayed. The disciples tried to protect Him, they cut off a soldier’s ear. Jesus put it back on. No one gets Him. They flee. Now He is abused and tortured. They took him to Caiaphas’s house. I stood next to steps, where He walked with just His enemies. I stood in the jail cell they probably threw Him down (or lowered Him into).
It was a lonely night. As we practice social distancing and we grieve that we can’t eat our Easter meal with our families, or be at our favorite church service, remember Christ was all alone on Holy Thursday. No one appeared to be His friend. No one had His back and the world appeared to be falling apart. Except, He knew something that others didn’t know.
He knew something about hope, love and peace. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2b).” He didn’t enjoy the cross. He didn’t enjoy being beat, spit on, or being alone on Holy Thursday, but He did it for us.
This year is different. There is no question. But, what is God teaching us? Maybe our idols needed torn down. Maybe their is a reason that the church doors needed to close for a minute. Maybe our worship is misplaced. Tonight, God Almighty calls us to ponder the loneliness of Christ. He had to social distance for us, He had to go to the cross for us. We couldn’t do it for ourselves.
Maybe we needed to slow down. Maybe you are the one who is normally leading the foot washing service and preparing to sing, preach or the children’s skit. Maybe we are to only sit and ponder our Christ, alone tonight. He suffered. He didn’t like it. He stood under judgement under people and institutions that had no right to do so. He was willing to walk alone to take my judgment for me. But after it is all over, their will be joy. He will take joy in my salvation. He will take joy in making me whole. But, Thursday night, He needed to be alone.