Isolation, distance from others, loneliness, the experiences of the current times, what insights can they give into the experience of Jesus during his final days in Jerusalem?
The ride into Jerusalem on the Sunday morning brought a confrontation with the reality of what lay ahead. How could he have focused upon the present moment knowing that his death was approaching and that he could not share with the people what was going to happen?
Driving the money-changers out of the Temple brought a sense of acting alone while others looked on. How easy is it to take so radical an action when you realise that you are acting alone?
As Jesus teaches the crowds, it brings an awareness of the growing conspiracy against him. In Saint Matthew Chapter 21, the opponents the chief priests and the elders of the people who “came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’” In Chapter 22, it is the Pharisees who “went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians.”
Jesus is isolated, surrounded by enemies who are closing in, yet does not diverge from the path he has set himself. He knows the danger, but does not flinch?
How do Christians follow such a path? Martin Luther King was a man surrounded by enemies who threatened his life, but he would not be intimidated from following the path he believed God had prepared for him. On the night before he was assassinated, he had no fear of his enemies:
It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us. The pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with on the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”
And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
Isolation will sometimes be at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian, but, for a Christian, isolation does not mean being alone. Isolation does not mean having cause to fear others. Isolation does not mean losing one’s faith.