Hard to imagine the disappointment the disciples felt as they watched on with broken hearts their Saviour, their King, and their friend slowly die an agonising death on a wooden cross. All the miracles they’d seen Him perform, each parable He’d explained, every promise about His kingdom coming was for what? This?
Perhaps they’d set their expectations a little too high? Maybe this final lesson was to show them how hard it was going to be to sit with this unavoidable emotion as they buried their friend? They say that time can heal all wounds, but not these. Not the wounds of setback, of failure, of defeat. And as the crowd left for home, the only people that were left were a bunch of disappointed disciples.
‘The crowds of common people who had gathered and watched the whole ordeal through to its conclusion left for their homes, pounding on their chests in profound grief. And all who knew Jesus personally, including the group of women who had been with Him from the beginning in Galilee, stood at a distance, watching all of these things unfold.’ Luke 23:48-49
The reason the women stood at a distance was that no one could stand too close to the cross because it would obstruct the macabre view of the spectacle, and so family and friends stood away from the execution. But isn’t that true of us also? We feel the familiar sting of disappointment, of things not turning out as we had planned and so we decide to stand at a distance from Jesus?
We build our walls, so it keeps Him out. Walls made from the bricks of all our disappointments, refusing to allow the redemptive blood that flows down from the cross to heal our wrecked and wounded souls. And if we search through our memories long enough and hard enough, we’ll find those people who we have long forgotten. The ones who once knew Jesus personally, who’d been with Him from the beginning, that were once sold out for Him, and who confessed they would never leave Him, only to find that the hurts from disappointment came like a ton of heavy blows.
Disappointed disciples standing at a distance.
And as we scan the silent battlefield that is littered with disappointed disciples, those wounded warriors who chose to stand at a distance so they wouldn’t feel the dissatisfying defeat of following a Saviour who claimed He could save them from disappointments but didn’t.
They say that time heals all wounds, right? I used to believe that too. I was a disappointed disciple who stood at the cross from a safe distance. At least I thought it was safe…
Until I discovered that when I stood at a distance from the cross the more the enemy could fire his arrows at me, so I left a blood trail that kept him finding me and hunting me down. The saying isn’t true that time will heal all wounds because time never really did heal any of the wounds that disappointment had left. Time never really did heal the hurts from my disappointments.
And it wasn’t until I chose to stop running until I chose to surrender and come closer and closer back to the cross, that I found the redeeming blood trail of Jesus which I discovered had been shed for every single one of my disappointments and all the disappointments I’ll experience in the future. The saving grace that healed my wounds can heal your wounds too. Don’t feed into the lie that time heals all wounds because ONLY the blood of Jesus heals ALL wounds!
Do you feel like the woman standing at a distance from the cross? Are you feeling the sting that follows a disappointed disciple and leaves you running away from Jesus? Have you stood at a distance and kept Jesus at arm’s length because of your wounds from disappointment?
I pray today, that you will stop standing at a distance from the cross and let the redemptive blood trail of Jesus heal all of your woundings from every disappointment you have experienced.