As the time for Jesus’ death grew nearer, he began to be left and betrayed by all of those who had been closest to him up until that point…
As soon as he and his disciples finish passover, Judas leaves to betray him…
Peter, James and John can’t even stay awake with him as he prays…
When he’s arrested, all of his disciples but Peter flee and abandon him…
And finally, as Jesus is being accused as a false prophet, Peter is fulfilling his prophecy by denying him three different times….
And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept (Mark 14:66-72).
Even Peter. One of Jesus’ most devoted, passionate and faithful followers hasn’t the gall to associate himself with his master. But I don’t think that this denial of Peter is included as a testament against Peter, but instead to illustrate that Jesus was utterly betrayed and alone.
It’s a terrible feeling to be let down by someone that you loved and trusted, especially in a time of difficulty and pain.
Jesus, the incarnation of God Himself, entered into our broken world and was spared from no hardship. He experienced not only the agony of a terrible physical death, but also the agony of a terrible relational death. Feeling abandoned by all of his friends and followers and eventually even his Father.
Experiencing the untimely and heartbreaking death of a close relationship is one of the hardest things that a person can experience, but I find great solace in knowing that this is not something that Jesus is unfamiliar with. Like me, Jesus has experienced betrayal and desertion, loss and loneliness, and abandonment in a time of need.
And this week, as we remember the events leading to Jesus’ death and resurrection, I want to encourage you to ponder how Jesus might have felt in his betrayal and abandonment, and how he can now fully commiserate with any of these feelings you may be experiencing yourself.
Our God is not one who is unfamiliar with loneliness and abandonment, nor does he ever overlook yours.