Jesus’ life was marked as much by withdrawal as engagement. After his baptism, he disappeared into the desert for 40 days. Throughout his ministry, he returned to solitude. He withdrew to mourn the death of John the Baptist. Mark and Luke both describe him rising early and seeking “desolate places.” On the night before his crucifixion, he went to the Garden of Gethsemane with the twelve, and left even them to go and pray alone.
This pattern of withdrawal doesn’t mark Jesus as a special case, and isn’t a reflection of his divinity. Instead, it’s a perfect expression of humanity. A body has limited resources, and what we do each day drains those resources; our physical energy drains, as does our psychological energy, our capacity for empathy, and even our capacity to make decisions. Jesus, incarnate and embodied, experienced these limits. Just as he needed food and oxygen and sleep, he needed solitude.