Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:32-33)
We Are Not Alone
As Jesus walked with the eleven to the Garden of Gethsemane, He gave them assurances of hope and promise in a trial they did not know was coming. It would be a very short time when Judas would bring the Jewish and Roman mob to arrest Jesus and the next day crucify the Son of God. After washing the disciple’s feet and identifying Judas as the traitor, the Lord spoke to the remaining eleven about how the world would know they were His disciples. Much of what Jesus describes comes from the character of the person. They would love one another, be filled with the Spirit of God, endure persecution with hope and promise and live with the knowledge that they would never be alone because the Father would always care for them.
Jesus knew what was about to happen to Him and He knew how the disciples would respond. When He was arrested the disciples forsook Him and fled. Only Peter followed at a distance but shortly denied he knew Jesus. John would be found at the cross with the mother of Jesus and several women. Jesus stood alone before the Jewish rulers and He confounded Pilate and Herod when He refused to answer their questions as they thought a condemned man would. No one came to the defense of Jesus. There were no words of encouragement and hope offered by any of the apostles or the many disciples that followed Jesus. His followers were scattered, each to his own. They deserted Jesus at His most critical time of need but He was not alone.
Fear can make the heart feel empty and alone. The pain of fear is to think there is no hope and no one will care or help in times of need. Jesus had been betrayed by one of His apostles, forsaken by His disciples, and denied by (of all people) Peter (three times). As they put chains on Him and led Him away to the city, He walked alone but not afraid. Those who arrested Him did not treat Him gently or with kindness. They viewed the man from Nazareth as a criminal who deserved to die. Standing before Caiaphas the high priest, Jesus was not afraid. When Jesus was dragged before Pilate He had no fear. The Lord refused to speak with Herod the king. Finally, when Pilate tried cowardly to release Jesus, the Lord remained silent. Through all of this ordeal, Jesus was spit upon, beaten, abused, ridiculed and mocked – and He said nothing.
Facing the scourging of the Romans would bring the greatest fear in the heart of any man. Jesus faced the cruel hand of physical pain with courage and faith. No one stood with Jesus. All men stood against Him. Jesus was not alone. He knew the Father had not forsaken Him and He knew that at His bidding He could have called twelve legions of angels to destroy humanity. Thank God He did not. Jesus knew He was not alone and that while all the world stood against Him, He knew the Father was with Him. Peace in the world comes from the knowledge the Father will never forsake His people. The way Jesus overcame the world was to remember that in the face of all the adversity He endured for the sake of saving the world the Father never would forsake Him and leaven Him. This strength helped Him endure the trials of the cross in the hope and promise of the resurrection.
Life can be filled with fear and trepidation. Uncertainty fills the air, hopelessness can seize the heart and the spirit of man can wax old under the weight of fear. It matters not if all the world forsake the righteous because the Father never will. Jesus endured the most terrible fear knowing He was never alone. The Father had promised to always be there and the peace that came to Jesus blossomed from the knowledge His Father would always care for Him. Jesus prayed for another way if it was the will of the Father but God let men treat Jesus harshly and kill Him. The Father never left Jesus. He raised Him from the dead. Life can be cruel and hard and many times death will come. For the child of God, the greatest promise is not joy in this life but the joy found in the resurrection. When the day of rebirth comes and the Lord brings His children home to Him, then all will know the Father never abandoned His children. We are not alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.