It is no secret that Jesus sent His first disciples out in teams – two‐by‐two. I’ve often wondered who got to go with whom, but we’re not told. As Jesus called the disciples in the first place, He likely decided who their traveling companions would be as well.
We still serve in teams in the church today. We depend on others for prayer and encouragement. In many of our servant ministries we work with people, side by side. Echoing through the church for all these centuries is the truth from Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one.”
There is a time, though, when one might be better than two. Jesus shows us that Himself, when all along His way to the cross, all through those three years of ministry, He took off alone for solitude and prayer. Check it out in Matthew 14:13, Mark 1:35, or Luke 4:42. When Jesus had a big decision to make (like choosing His disciples), when He needed special strength for a giant challenge (like His trial and Passion), or when He was just plain exhausted, Jesus got away, I mean away from everybody, and went it alone. Truth is, He wasn’t alone‐alone; He was alone with His Father.
Jesus even had a special place for prayer. When He was in Jerusalem He returned again and again to a lovely garden on the Mount of Olives, called Gethsemane. It reminds me of a verse from Alexander Pope’s famous poem, “Ode on Solitude”:
How happy he, who free from care, The rage of courts, and noise of towns; Contented breathes his native air, In his own grounds.
I’ve never been to the Garden of Gethsemane. I can imagine, though, spending some time alone there praying and reading the Passion history of our Savior and growing.
The truth is, you and I need solitude. If Jesus needed it, how much more we! Maybe, as we journey through Lent and enter Holy Week, it’s time for us to take a quiet walk and pray a prayer through our familiar territory.
Maybe it’s a favorite chair or a quiet place where you can open your Bible and really hear God speak to you in particular, to you with your needs, your weaknesses, your challenges. It may even be a whole day dedicated to a silent retreat in God’s presence. However you do it, you and God need to be alone together.
We live a crowded life, we disciples. We live and work and worship in masses of people. We work well in teams, but we also need to be alone with God. He clears the head and cleans the heart. He opens our eyes and strengthens our weak knees for the road that lies ahead.
After Jesus left the solitude of Gethsemane, He journeyed to the Cross and to the Open Tomb and eventually to His home in heaven! As we journey with Him this Lent and Easter, may we also experience His amazing grace and love … for us!
God will be with you and me in our times of quiet prayer and in our Easter alleluias!
Quiet Lent and LOUD Easter blessings to you in the Name of our loving and victorious Lord and Savior Jesus as together we celebrate His love,