19:17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.
Jesus said if we want to follow Him we must take up our cross. This was His cross. As horrific as it is, it was His gift to us. Wrapped up in this singular act is the answer to every significant question about God we could ever ask. Here in these moments the heart of God is expressed more eloquently than anywhere else. Who captured Him? No one. Who betrayed Him? We all did yet no one did. Jesus is not here because of us yet He is on that cross because of all of us. In other words we did not kill Him, He gave His life. All the kings horses and all the kings men could not have stopped Him from taking that painful lonely journey. It was His plan all along. He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
For many this is a happy time of year. For many others it is an extremely lonely time of year. Loneliness carries many faces. There is the loneliness of being by yourself. There is the loneliness of being surrounded by people yet still feeling isolated. There is the loneliness of being misunderstood and finally the loneliness of passing through an experience no one around you can relate to.
If anyone understands the different kinds of loneliness we experience it is Jesus. In the Garden He was left completely alone. Often He found Himself alone in the crowds. Alone because He fully understood His identity and His mission but even those closest to Him did not. His decisions were often second guessed and even ridiculed because they didn't understand Him. For years He worked pressed by the crowds and always with His disciples yet alone.
Now at this most excruciatingly difficult step in His journey to express the heart of God He is more lonely than He has ever been. When I went for surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed from my bladder my wife Tracey came with me. She loved me. She was supporting me. She came as far as she was permitted to but eventually she had to stop and I had to journey on alone.
Jesus had company. One on His right and one on His left with a crowd gathered below yet never had He been so alone.
If you feel isolated, alone even in a crowd, misunderstood, or are going through something no one around you can really understand remember that Jesus does. He even understands the worst loneliness of all - the loneliness of betrayal. But guess what. The cross stands as a witness that we often betray one another and Him but He will never betray us because He is love and love never does that. The truth is He went to the cross alone and because of what He has done we never have to be completely alone - never.
"I Am with you always, even to the end of the age. I will never leave you or forsake you." - Jesus