Jesus stepped away from the crowds. He took time to reflect and pray. His time in solitude gave him the space to recharge and prepare for what is next. Each one of us goes through seasons in life. We have busy times. We have slow times. We have intense periods, and there are peace-filled days. The ebb and flow of life is unique to each person. So, there is no one-size-fits-all spirituality.
Jesus responded to his situation. From the Bible, we know about his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane. But, we do not know how he prayed earlier in the week. Did he struggle? Did he experience stress about the swelling tide of public frustration with the Roman oppressors? How did he see his role in public discourse leading up to Passover?
According to Mark 13:32-33, Jesus says, “But about the day or hour no one knows… Beware. Keep alert. For you do not know when the time will come.” He admits a lack of clairvoyance. Yet, he remains attuned to God’s leading. The events of the week unfold. Judas betrays Jesus. The rest of his disciples desert him. He faces abuse and a mock trial alone. And, he dies on a cross alone.
Was he surprised? Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps he knew that his path would lead to death. He foretold his death in Mark 10:33. Perhaps he knew he would die for what he taught, but he might not have known when. Maybe he knew exactly what was going to happen when. We cannot truly know the mind of Christ. Only God knows.
We can, however, pause and see Christ. We can follow his journey. We can feel the pang of betrayal when Judas misunderstands everything and accepts the silver. We can listen in on the joy of Jesus and his closest friends having Seder together. Was there a child present to ask the traditional question, “Why is this night different?” Later that evening, we can experience the loneliness of Jesus in Gethsemane.
Mark 14-15 takes us on this journey. Let us pause this week. Turn off the news. Forget the latest sporting victory or tragedy. Step away from social media. Take a break from work. Open the Bible. Read carefully the events of Holy Week. Do not jump ahead to Mark 16. Save it for Sunday.
Holy Week can be difficult. Going through it with Jesus makes Easter a richer experience.