“When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.” This sentence from John 12 sticks with me this morning. Jesus, after speaking of glory and light and his own death, found it necessary to be alone, away from crowds and people.To me this shows how truly human he was. I see myself in this action, and feel strengthened by knowing Jesus had that same need for solitude though with a much greater weight to bear.
We know Jesus spent time alone praying, and I’m sure he prayed this time, but the feeling is different. The need was personal, not outward. The choice was not in which disciples to choose or in receiving renewal to continue the mission. Rather it was about him and the Father glorifying each other and Jesus finding the strength to push forward, assuming our guilt and shame, taking our place of judgment.
I believe Jesus was overwhelmed by the events to come. Knowing that this was the culmination of his earthly life and that all of human history hinged on his next steps, I believe Jesus mourned for what he was giving up, namely his holiness and his purity. Not that he lost either, but that he surrendered them for our sake. He took on all our sin, becoming sin for us. To a Holy God sin was abhorrent, untouchable. Which is exactly why Jesus had to be the one to take it on. Only a Holy God could turn darkness into light. Only a Holy God could bear the condemnation resulting from his own holiness.
In this moment of hiding away from the crowds the human and the divine are fully revealed. Abhorrence for the sin to come is met by the pending pain of torture. Separation from God is separation from himself. The mental, emotional, physical and spiritual anguish is fully felt by Jesus in these moments. Here is where he battles for humanity. Here is where the real decision is made.
Jesus in these last public moments spoke of glory, light and his death. Then he retreated away from the crowds. His remaining time was to be spent with his closest friends and the one who would betray him. The time was fast approaching when the Son of Man would be glorified in order that the Father would be glorified. Such glory came with an incredible price.