How well do you deal with disappointment? It is a good question because we all have to deal with it, like it or not. Some people do not deal with it very well. They became discouraged, lose their enthusiasm, and give up. Others become angry and lash out at those around them. Jesus often dealt with disappointment and he dealt with it in a way that models appropriate self- control. Take for instance the occasion of the Last Supper what Jesus dealt with: There was Judas’ betrayal, the disciple’s argument over who was the greatest, Peter’s denial and their overall dullness about what was happening to Jesus.
The fact that one of Jesus’ own disciples that had followed him from the beginning of his ministry could betray him had to sting Jesus to core. When Judas left the supper, and went out into the night Jesus’ heart was filled with sadness. Yet Jesus responded with love and concern for Judas in spite of brutal hurt he inflicted on Jesus.
Then Luke records, “Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest” (Lk 22:24). You could not have imagined that in the solemn moment of this last supper, an argument would have erupted, but it did. It seems almost inconceivable that they— the apostles began to argue over who was greatest. They had witnessed Jesus’ humility. They had seen it displayed and yet they were a million miles from it. Their argument was as if they had never known him. Does it not remind you of our inconsistency and dullness of mind in our own Christian journey? Jesus nonetheless, was gentle with the disciples and used this occasion to teach about servant leadership. What you are doing here is the way the world looks at power and authority, but not in my kingdom. This is not the way the Kingdom of God operates. We should understand that and implement the kingdom way now. We should live as one who serves. Jesus said, “But I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27).
How dense these disciples were in the Upper Room? Jesus was so close to the cross, and yet his most committed followers were so far from him in spirit. How disheartening this had to be for Jesus. Peter was also overconfident in his ability to withstand opposition. Jesus predicted that he would deny the Lord and Peter refused to believe it. His most enthusiastic disciple would fail and he was clueless even when Jesus warned him. What a setback, but Jesus stayed completed
focused on Peter’s recovery from his denial.
Jesus described the coming days as troubling for him and that there would be hostility toward him. However, the apostles were completely disconnected from what Jesus was talking about. Jesus said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). It was as if they did not hear what Jesus was saying and chose to hear what they wanted to hear. They focused on the sword that Jesus mentioned without attempting to understand what Jesus meant. Later, when Peter attempted to use his sword, Jesus told him if had needed help to fight he would have called legions of angels.
Though Jesus faced incredible disappointment in his disciples he never lost his patience, he never lost his focus. His example inspires us to depend on the Holy Spirit to empower us to do ministry the way he did. His examples compel us to live faithfully in spite of disappointment and not try to escape it.