Smooth water surrounds me and the leaves on the distant trees glint orange as the day begins to break over the dock. All is quiet except for the occasional honking of Canadian geese as they fly overhead. The breeze blows my hair in my face as I take it all in.
My mind is far away though. In my own struggle, I see His clearer than ever before.
Thick darkness hangs on the air as His mind takes it all in. It had been a night like no other— in so many ways. He looks down at His hands, bruised and bloodied from the chains. Blood trickles down His face from the thorns on His brow. That’s not all though. Somehow I think I see tears too.
It’s not the harrowing physical pain that breaks Him now though. It’s not even the memory of the soldiers shoving Him along the dark path or taunting Him with their evil laughter. It’s the fact that His closest friends on earth have run away and abandoned Him in His hour of need.
It wasn’t like these were just casual acquaintances either. They weren’t just men He had bumped into on the street. These were the ones He had lived with for the past three and half years. He’d given these everything He had to give— love, time, friendship, compassion, and prayer. He’d been a listening ear for their deepest woes and He’d shared depths of Himself that He would never have dreamt to share with the multitude. They’d become family over the years and He loved them with all His soul.
He remembers all the moments spent with them— the long conversations they had as they walked dusty roads from one village to another; the crowds they had loved and served together; the loss and rejection they had experienced because of their mission; the joy of seeing lost travelers find their way back Home; the countless meals shared together; the hours spent in prayer… How could they leave Him after they had tasted all this? What more could He have given them than He had?
They’d all been together just a few short hours before, seated around the supper table.
Something hadn’t been entirely right then though. In fact it hadn’t been for a long time and He’d seen it with aching heart. The hard countenance, the attitude that was even harder. He knew Judas. He knew the way his face wrinkled when he laughed and the look that came over his face when he was closing his heart to their friendship. It broke Him to see that look more and more.
During supper tonight it had been worse than ever. Over and over He had tried to reach Judas with some gentle word or touch, but it always seemed to fall on a cold heart. He knew there wasn’t much more He could do but He would not let this one go until He had done everything in His power.
Kneeling, He had taken the soiled feet and washed them Himself, all the while His heart breaking. Judas, how can I give you up? How can I ever let you go?
The room had darkened when Judas coldly walked out and something in His heart had broke— something that would never be the same again. To lose someone He loved so much was to lose a part of Himself.
Darkness had fallen— not just outside but in His heart— as He’d made His way to His special spot in the garden. Tonight He had the biggest battle ever fought to endure and His heart was already heavy with loss. He had needed His friend’s support. More now than ever.
He knelt on the cold, damp grass and asked them to pray with Him. It would have given comfort to His breaking heart just to looks over His shoulder and see His friends bowed in prayer.
After a long season of prayer His heart was so heavy, He turned to see them. Only they weren’t kneeling… they were slumped over on the grass, asleep.
The ache He’d felt already that evening went deeper. Not these. Not now. Didn’t they care enough to stand with Him now? He stood up, feet wobbly from the exertion and walks over to them… desperate for their companionship in His hour of need. They start awake. But not for long. Two more times He looks over His shoulder and sees them sleeping and the ache goes into the farthest parts of His being.
Finally He stood, ready to face whatever the night has to bring. He heard the mob and He knew the capture that was coming. But that face… that is no face of an enemy. It’s Judas. The friend His heart was still breaking over. He approached— closer in fact than he had been in a long time— and took His hand, his voice sympathetic as he whispered “Master.” Judas then kissed Jesus gently on the cheek, appearing to greatly care for the friend he had just shunned.
But Jesus saw beyond the facade and into the depths of this soul. He saw and He knew that this was indeed the end of their closeness. The friend He shared thousands of meal with, countless nights under starry skies, hours upon hours of conversation, had thrown it all back in His face and betrayed Him to the enemy.
It’s wasn’t that He was now in the hands of the enemy that stung. It’s that it was one of His best friends who placed Him there.
But still, the night was not done. The rest of His friends made brave efforts to free Him from the soldier’s grasp but when their efforts failed, they fled— afraid to stand with Him when it may costed them their own reputation.
They arrived at the court and He caught a glimpse of Peter. Oh how He loved this guy. He listened though, and His heart was broken all over again by what He heard. Did Peter just swear three times that he didn’t even know who his best Friend was? This one who had stood with Him through the last three and a half years— must He lose him too?
And so He stands, heartbroken and alone on the darkest night of His life. His best friends having left, denied, and betrayed Him. The God of the universe broken by the ones He had made… the friends He had trusted.
I’ve heard of how my Jesus was betrayed many times before but today with the water glistening around me, I feel it deeper than ever. Maybe because such pain is not as far removed from my own life as I’d like. This morning it’s as if He’s showing me that His heart was in pieces too and that it’s safe for me to walk through these depths with Him because He knows.
I don’t know the stories of every heart who reads these words. I don’t know the loss and heartbreak you have been through. But I know that in a world as shattered as this one, there are likely parts of you that are shattered too. And I’m not here to tell you it’s all going to be ok. He didn’t tell me that out on the dock either.
You may break. You may look to heaven and ask why everything inside feels dead… why rejection has to come even when we love with all that is in us… why one broken relationship can break so much inside.
And likely as not there will be no answer engraved across the sky. No instant healing dished out in a blast of light. There may not even be an answer right away.
I can tell you one thing though. Jesus knows. He doesn’t just see and hurt with you because He loves you. He actually knows.
He may not piece us all back together instantly and make every wound whole overnight. But truth is, He still lives with a broken heart too. And He still smiles.
Because maybe brokenness isn’t actually the end of love. Maybe it’s the beginning of a love that knows how to love even deeper than a love that has never tasted betrayal.
The darkness around me gives way as the sun rises over the treetops and the rays light up the clouds and reflect off the water. I don’t have a magic answer, but my heart is at peace because He’s heard and understood the things I didn’t even know how to say. More than that, He’s reminded me of His own story and my heart is still.
I rise to face the day, and He comes too. That is enough.