Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!” John 19:5
After Jesus had endured hours of ruthless interrogation, a brutal flogging and the humiliating mockery and disdain of the Roman soldiers, Pilate came to the conclusion that he could find no fault in Him. As a result, Pilate presents Him to the Jewish priests and elders, who were looking for him to affirm their condemnation of Jesus, as a man with "no guilt in Him."
Their response? "Crucify, crucify!"
And so Pilate questions Jesus again, and again finds nothing to accuse Him of. So he takes Jesus to the "place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha" which was the place of public declaration of guilt and punishment. And this time Pilate presents Him to the huge crowd of Jews that were gathered and declares to them, “Behold, your King!”
Their response? “We have no king but Caesar!”
This is the ultimate, public expression of the nation's rejection of God the Son and a seminal moment in the history of mankind.
And at the heart of it stands a man, Jesus, all alone...
Where were the multitudes that he had comforted and healed and taught?
Where were the thousands that had eaten the bread and fishes and been satisfied?
Where were those who had seen Lazarus raised from the dead and talked with him about the savior?
Where was the crowd that just a few days earlier were heralding His entrance into Jerusalem with shouts of "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
Where were the rulers and members of the Sanhedrin, like Nicodemus, that believed in Him?
Where were the disciples who had followed Him throughout the land, witnessing His miracles, being privy to his most intimate thoughts and actions, sharing the danger of His mission and ministry?
Where were the 12 who had been with Him for three long years and only the night before had their feet washed by Him before sharing the Passover supper?
Where was Peter?
Where was John?
Where was anyone willing to stand up and defend Him?
The fact is there was no one to stand for Him!
In the most profound sense of the word, He was a man alone.
"Alone", but with a few important caveats:
- He stood in the awareness that He was in the exact center of the Father's will and purpose for His life.
- He stood in the full assurance that the Father was with Him through it all.
- He stood in the super abounding resource of the power of the Holy Spirit.
- He stood in the expectation of the joy that was set before Him.
As such, He stood as an example of what we all must face in some form or fashion if we seek to be His true disciples.
Each one of us must eventually learn what it is to stand alone, before and with God, in light of His plan and purpose for our lives.
Our friends and family will not necessarily understand what we are going through. Our spouses and children may feel for us and care for us, but there will be an aspect of our experience that they will not be able to completely share. Those that we fellowship with may see our struggles and be moved to pray for us, but they will not be able to ease our load or release us from its obligation.
To take up our cross and follow Him is a solitary experience. It is the essence of 'alone-ness.' The hard truth is that our cross, our path, our mission has been ordained by God specifically for us alone. We are the only one that can take that weight and follow that path. No one can do it for us.
What we must understand is that God has not intended our alone-ness to be a punishment or retribution for failings. Rather, God has so designed it, with a divinely compassionate understanding of who we are, to bring us to Himself in a relationship that is 'unique' from His relationship with all others. He is bringing us into a heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul reality that transcends other earthly associations.
Hagar expressed the unique relationship in Genesis 16:13, "She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: 'You are the God who sees me,' for she said, 'I have now seen the One who sees me.'"
It is a relationship of absolute trust, profound intimacy, breathtakingly open and free, while being tempered by an appropriate sense of awe, wonder and gratitude. Those who have been willing to stand alone, before and with God, will testify that it was worth whatever pain, hardship and alone-ness it took to get there.