Jesus Hated His Quarantine!
by Rector Jim Murphy
During prayer this past week, early in the midst of our collective Corona-virus lockdown, I was brought to tears as God took me in the Spirit through the whole of Lent and right to the cross—with Jesus hanging upon it. In a sense, it was as if the Lord had said, “Do not pass go, do not collect $200., go straight to the cross, spend time there.”
So to Calvary I went. It was to the very moment on the first Good Friday when Jesus uttered the phrase, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”, which itself is a quote from Psalm 22 meaning, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) Why would God lead me to the cross? Why to that very moment in time? Why did the tears flow? First, you must know that one of my oft repeated prayers is “show me your heart in this matter, O God,” whatever “this matter” may happen to be at the time. Understanding that, perhaps you can discern that in my prayer Jesus was revealing his heart in connection to all of the fallout surrounding this Covid-19 mess.
From the cross, at that moment in history Jesus was experiencing the excruciating pain, the sheer horror of being separated, of being quarantined from his Father, from the pure holiness that he once enjoyed. It tore him apart—literally, spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally—He hated it. Jesus hated his quarantine! Our Savior was undergoing a gut-wrenching pain like no other at being unable to be with his Daddy, his Abba. Why was he in agony and unable to be with the Father? Because he had all of our disgusting, viral-sin on his shoulders. He was infected unto death. A disease as such was not (will never be) allowed into heaven. It would spoil the holiness, the health, the perfection. The Son of God underwent the most painful period of sequester or quarantine that he or any of us ever could experience here on earth so that that detestable virus wouldn’t make it past the angel guards into heaven.
Our human familiarity with the current type of virus and quarantine program began back in the beginning of time. In Genesis, soon after Creation in the Garden of Eden we sinned, ala Adam and Eve. Sin became and remains the quintessential virus of mankind. Among other things, one of the repercussions of the sin-virus that would come to infect everyone, included our separation from God’s nearer, constant presence. In short, we were kicked out of the Garden, we were quarantined from the heavenly Father and guards were placed at the entrance to keep us (sinful virus carriers that we are) away.
Alas, that set-up rubbed God the wrong way when he took the time to consider it. After all, he had created humanity because he wanted to have fellowship with us. He wanted to share his glorious creation with you and meand, hold on to your hats, He actually loved us, go figure! El Shaddai (God Almighty) did not like that separation one bit so He put into action his virus preparedness plan—Jesus Christ. His Son would be the One, the only One who could and would break down the dividing wall of separation (Ephesians 2:14) which was represented by the angelic beings guarding the east end of Eden.
As God’s Son, Jesus would naturally be averse to being quarantined. It’s in his blood, so to speak. That is why God would lead any of us to the cross to remind us of the Lord’s agony and to the pain of separation from the Father. But then so are we naturally averse to isolation. We are, after all, created in God’s image (see Genesis chapter 1). It is therefore “in our blood” for us to enjoy fellowship with God, family, and others because we’re made for it, we’re made for relationships. This quarantine business is unnatural, it feels neither good nor right to be separated one from another. Why else would we use “solitary confinement” or “time-out” as a form of punishment to be avoided?
If you find this quarantine business to be uncomfortable, if separation or isolation brings pain or depression, then you are following in the hallowed footsteps of Jesus Christ. He has been there. And, he has provided the cure for the sin-virus in his blood. The divine-human quarantine is ended with the redemption of Messiah Jesus. Then too, as God, He alone can end the Covid-19 quarantine mess. Let’s pray.
Originally published in The Highlander, March 2020.