Weekly Reflection, Friday, April 16
By: Eleanor Wellford, Associate Rector
Was Jesus an Introvert?
Of course we can only speculate about that. On one hand, maybe he was an introvert because he liked to go away and be by himself to pray or meditate or simply recharge. Right after his baptism, he spent 40 days in the wilderness by himself and then spent time alone before calling his disciples. Jesus was alone when he grieved the death of John the Baptist and after the Feeding of the 5000. And on the night he was arrested, Jesus distanced himself from his disciples and prayed alone on the Mount of Olives.
On the other hand, maybe Jesus was an extrovert. After all, he selected 12 disciples to follow him – not just one or two; and they often traveled within even larger groups of followers. Jesus attended social events such as the wedding in Cana and various dinner parties. He often dropped in on friends such as Martha, Mary, and Lazarus and encouraged children and those who were sick, disenfranchised or needed healing to come to him during his travels.
I think it’s a mistake to limit Jesus to any character trait. What may be more revealing about him and what may be a way for us to connect with him, would be how he was feeling when he was either alone or in crowds. Did he feel supported in his ministry? For example, how must he have felt when he returned to his hometown of Nazareth to preach and was rejected by family and friends there? And how must he have felt when those closest to him misunderstood so much of what he said and did? And then near the end of his life, there was the outright betrayal by Judas and denial by Peter. Jesus’s loneliness must have turned into feelings of abandonment in the hours leading up to his crucifixion.
Yet never was Jesus truly alone. He may have felt that way just as we can feel that way when we’re suffering or in pain. His Father, however, was always with the Son even in his darkest hour. And his Father is always with us. That’s the gospel truth and one of the many blessings of Easter.
“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20