For the entirety of his ministry years, Jesus was the sole human who knew beyond a doubt that he was the Messiah. His disciples claimed to know (Peter even once by the power of God’s Spirit proclaimed it), but they didn’t really believe, not beyond a doubt. If they had really believed, they wouldn’t have run away when Jesus was arrested. If they had really believed, they wouldn’t have denied knowing him when they were outed as being his followers. If the Marys had really believed that Jesus was the Messiah, they wouldn’t have shown up at his grave on the third day with spices to anoint his body. All of these actions – running away, denying knowing Jesus, and preparing the body for burial – show that while Jesus’ followers claimed to believe he was the Messiah, they didn’t really believe, not the way Jesus did.
Only after they saw and touched resurrected Jesus did they believe beyond a doubt.
It must have been a peculiar kind of solitude for Jesus, being the only human who knew who he was. Sure, God knew he was the Messiah, as did all the holy beings. The unholy ones knew, too, and were constantly blabbing it before Jesus had the chance to shut them up by casting them out. And there’s the odd thing about Jesus being the only human who knew who he was – Jesus didn’t want anyone else to know he was the Messiah, not until the time was right. So he was OK with his disciples’ and followers’ skin-deep belief in his messiahship, at least in the first few years of his ministry work.
Being the Messiah would have been a big secret to carry around. Even before Jesus started his ministry, his family would have known he was a prophet (imagine how many times he’d healed their illnesses and turned water into wine at home before debuting those miracles in public). But like his followers, his family also didn’t believe he was the Messiah until after his resurrection. They knew he was a prophet, sure, but THE Prophet? The one foretold by Moses and written about by David and Isaiah all the Old Testament prophets? Nah, not our Jesus. Remember how his mother and sisters tried to drag him back to Nazareth, thinking he’d lost his mind, and how his brothers ragged on him to declare himself publicly, if he really was who he said he was. There was no belief in those actions by his family, not belief in Jesus as the Messiah. But after his resurrection, his Mother and his brother James fell into line with his disciples and followers as true believers.
We, as born-again believers, know what it is to be alone in our beliefs. Most of us don’t have genuine born-again family members, at least not still on Earth, and most of us don’t know any genuine born-again believers in the flesh. Instead, we operate fully by faith, having neither seen Jesus with our own eyes nor being in the company of other true believers. It is a peculiar kind of solitude that we live during our time on Earth that is not unlike the solitude that Jesus experienced. But, like Jesus, we are also never alone: We have our heavenly Father with us always, through his Spirit, and we have the cloud of witnesses.
If I have to sit, stand, walk, eat, pray, worship and sleep alone for the rest of my time here, I’m OK with that. I may be more or less alone in my beliefs and very alone physically, yet I never feel alone, because God and Jesus and all my cloud homies are with me in Spirit. It’s a peculiar kind of solitude, but a fulfilling and a blessed one.
I’m never lonely.
We need to accept being alone in our beliefs because that’s how it’s going to be during our time here as born-again believers. That’s how it was for Jesus and that’s how it is for us.
As Jeremiah put it, I’d rather sit alone than in an assembly of mockers and unbelievers.
Amen to that.