The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The writer tells his readers in Hebrews 13:5 that God promises, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Since Jesus is God and he never changes, we can be confident that his promises hold firm today. He won’t leave us, even if it sometimes feels like he has.
This Easter, as we celebrate what happened all those years ago, the cross and the tomb remind us that, while he will never leave us, he is quite familiar with being left.
In the garden at his arrest, his followers fled.
The crowds who shouted “Hosanna in the highest” changed their cries to “Crucify him!”
Peter denied that he knew him three times.
And, finally, Jesus cried out from the cross,
The popular teacher was abandoned to his fate.
Can you imagine the loneliness?
Can you imagine the emotional pain he endured, knowing the world he had created had turned its back on him?And his Father let him die a lonely death.
Perhaps that pain is why he made that promise.
Guys, listen: I promise I will NEVER leave you.
I will NEVER abandon you.
I will NEVER allow you to go through what I went through. I remember the pain. I am intimately familiar with the loneliness. I remember what it felt like to have everyone turn on me, the Maker of the universe. I loved them far more than they knew, and they all shunned me. I remember that, and because I remember that, I will NEVER let you go through it.
The world might leave you. Your family may abandon you. Your boyfriend or girlfriend might leave. Your kids might turn 16 and leave with the car every evening at 5:00 p.m., but you will NEVER be alone again. I will make sure of that.
I am with you. I am ALWAYS beside you. In your worst moment, I’m right there. In your best moment, I’m right there. When you feel good about yourself, I’m there. When you feel like you’re the worst and you’ll never figure it out, I’m there.
Jesus was abandoned at the cross. By everyone. So, let’s be clear: when you feel abandoned, he gets it.
But you only FEEL abandoned. You never really are.
He won’t let that happen.
You may not feel lonely or abandoned today, but it’s likely you will one day. Be encouraged. Because of Jesus, the one who stared down loneliness, death, sin, and shame on the cross, you will never be alone!