In a previous post I said something sorta right, sorta wrong: “Seeing Jesus put even His own grief aside is a powerful lesson for His followers to learn.” True, Jesus tried to get some time alone to grieve for the loss of John the Baptist, but Jesus may not have actually “put that grief aside” when He fed the five thousand.
There are a lot of reasons I should not use Brett Favre as an illustration in this blog, but hang with me… Here’s the game summary: Favre passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns a day after his father's death, moving into second place in NFL history for career TD passes while leading the Packers to a 41-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Monday night. In the midst of his grief, instead of depressed, Brett Favre was animated by the passing of his father.
Now, there are a lot of reasons I should not use a grieving Brett Favre as a parallel of Jesus, but hang with me… Jesus lost His cousin and the forerunner of Jesus’ earthly ministry. And John didn’t die of old age, he was beheaded because of John’s religious zeal – he died because he served God. How do you think that made Jesus feel? In the midst of his grief, instead of depressed, the passing of his cousin animated Jesus to richly touch the lives of “the sheep without a shepherd”.
Sorrow and grief are powerful emotions. So is compassion. If we paused now for a word from our Sponsor, we’d turn again to Matthew 14:14. When Jesus looked upon the people who sought Him, He “felt compassion for them”. His compassion, His love was much stronger than His personal feeling of loss.
Followers of Jesus are called to “flip the script” and live for others, not themselves. You’d think that losing a loved one would be the right time to focus on yourself for a minute. Understandable. Just remember that “follow” means going where Jesus goes in the way that He goes. In your loss, you don’t put aside your grief, you let it remind you of the spiritual hunger all people have. Go compassionately.
Clark H Smith