The Bible describes Jesus of Nazareth as being ‘in the likeness of men’ (Philippians 2:7). Yet those who spent any time with Him never failed to notice that He was entirely different from all others. The ‘common people’ were awed by His miraculous deeds and ‘marvelled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth’ (Luke 4:22); even soldiers sent to arrest Him returned empty-handed, stating that ‘no one ever spoke like this man’ (John 7:46, ESV).
Why was He so different? Put simply, He was God in human form (John 1:14 and 1 Timothy 3:16), ‘holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners’ (Hebrews 7:26, ESV). He was misunderstood, misrepresented, rejected. Dr James Allan Francis’ powerful description of Christ, within his famous 1926 sermon, came to be known as: ‘One Solitary Life’. How apt.
If He was lonely in His life, how much more so in His death. Throughout His life, He had enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God. When arrested, forsaken by His few close friends, and falsely condemned to cross-death, He was there abandoned by God as He endured God’s wrath against sin and suffered beyond human comprehension in utter loneliness.
Let me highlight two of many reasons why I, as a Christian, will literally be eternally grateful.
Firstly, in His death Christ satisfied God’s wrath in respect of my sins – His resurrection on the third day proves it. This means that my sins, past, present and future, are all forgiven. I am a child of God, secure for ever in Christ and with an eternal home awaiting me in heaven.
Secondly, I will never be truly alone. He understands the trials I face, having experienced them Himself (Hebrews 4:15). He can truly empathise as He goes through them with me and He has given me His promise: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).