Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jesus Saw Their Sorrows

Jesus sees our sorrows
Image courtesy CreationSwap

Matthew 26:36-46
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.”  And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”  Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”  And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”  NKJV

Have you ever visited a man or a woman in deep sorrow? The first thing that happens to you is that you become part of his/her sorrow. You find yourself unable to utter a word. I now understand why the friends of Job who went to see him, sat with him for seven days and seven nights without saying one word. They were, using the words of my American friend, “empathizing with him” Sorrow is very infectious.

My wife and I had a very recent experience. We went to empathize with a friend who lost one very dear to him. We saw ourselves unable to say what we had wanted to say. We were rather filled with the sorrow we knew filled his heart. When we left his home after nearly two hours of sitting, talking and praying, we noticed we had a very heavy burden on our hearts for this man and for many others who are sorrowful.

The world today is full of the sorrowful and like a friend said: “The night hours are populous with the bereaved.” Someone else we talked with said – “I dread the nights most, the rooms are too lonely and cold, the darkness is rather too thick and menacing, the hours are rather too long and the meals are tasteless.” At night their tears flow and they do not cover their faces. It was true of the late evening of the Holy Week after the Lord’s Supper that the disciples experienced the type of sorrow we are talking about. It was also true of the early morning of the first day of the week when the women came to the tomb to pay their last respect to Him whom they regarded as the Beloved Dead. That was the Easter morning, you know!

In the long night people think that grief is their only companion, that they are alone in a singular circumstance with grief. But such is not the case. They are all members of a great company. Those who lie in silence in some cubby-hole in a large city and imagine that they are alone in their suffering are wrong. There is a sister or a brother somewhere far or near, who has awakened to whisper in an African dawn a tribal chant of sorrow. He or she has raised a voice of prayer to the Lord who understands our sorrows.

The voice of sorrow ever reaches the ears of our Maker and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. In the passage we quoted at the beginning of this message from the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night of His betrayal, it was to meet the cry of sorrow that Jesus left His own meditations. The Bible records that “When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.” (Luke 22:45) Jesus came to them to comfort them because He saw their sorrows.

It was to comfort broken hearts that He left His grave so early on Easter morning. It was for this purpose that He met Mary. How comforting to hear that God sends His angels to us when we are in sorrow! The angel says; “Do not be afraid, for I know ...” God knows and Jesus Himself tells us “Rejoice!” He rose on the Easter morning to meet the sorrowing hearts and to tell them to rather rejoice.

With the same intention, Jesus walked at dusk with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. What a great comfort to know that Jesus is surely at this moment walking up and down the lonely path which you travel. He is ready to open your eyes to see what the Scriptures have said. He is willing to come in and stay with you, bless your breaking of bread and warm your heart.

So, my sorrowing friends, Jesus is close to you this moment. He understands the weight of sorrow you bear. He is right now, saying “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Come to Jesus with your sorrow today!

God bless you all.

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