Closing the Gap

September 13 — Matthew 27:45–56

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. (Matthew 27:55)

Matthew tells us that, when Jesus was crucified, some of His disciples who were women stood and watched “from a distance.” They didn’t get too close. We can understand this. After all, someone they cared about was being horribly tortured and killed. It was not a sight to be seen up close. Also, being women, they had been taught in their culture to follow such action from a distance.
There were others who followed “from a distance.” It had only been a relatively short time — mere hours — since Jesus had been led away to be sentenced to death. Peter, “The Rock,” had followed “at a distance” (Matthew 26:58). While Jesus was being beaten and interrogated, Peter cowered by a fire, warming himself at a distance.
There is a little Greek word we pronounce makron that holds great meaning. It literally means “at a distance.” Even though we are Christ’s disciples, we sometimes follow Him at a distance, too. Sometimes the space between us and Jesus is due to fear. Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow, but we sometimes do that at a distance. After all, there are places where Jesus goes, people He touches, things Jesus says, that make us “uncomfortable.” Other times, we don’t want our “cross” to be too noticeable. For example, we know the joke is “inappropriate”, but we say nothing. We let it pass or even laugh along with the others. We didn’t want others to think we were fanatical or too pious.
Sometimes we follow Jesus… at a distance. But, while we may allow distance to stand between us and the Lord, this is not how He treats us. Several years ago, Bette Midler popularized a song in which she sang that “God is watching us from a distance.” No, He isn’t! He is very close, watching for opportunities to lessen the distance between us and to draw us to Himself. He reaches out across the gap — the gap of fear, of sin, of unworthiness — of all that separates us from Him and, pointing to the wounds in His hands, Jesus says, “Look how much I love you!”
Jesus wants to lessen the gap that we may have created between us. Remember this the next time you find you are distancing yourself from the Lord.