Now Playing: How do we feel; how should we feel?
On various occasions, nearly all of us have received that announcement, that phone call, that letter, to inform us that one we care deeply about has passed from this scene, to their eternal abode in heaven. The feelings that pass throught our hearts and minds are deep thoughts, often of sorrow for the grief and loss which has occurred. There are many passages in scripture on the subject, although some are in a different context than that of death. Today we will consider a few from the New Testament.
The Gentile physician Luke records, "(v.39) And He came out, and went, as He was wont, to the mount of Olives; and His disciples also followed him. (v.40) And when He was at the place, he said unto them, 'Pray that ye enter not into temptation.' (v.41) And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, (v.42) Saying, 'Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.' (v.43) And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening Him. (v.44) And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (v.45) And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow, (v.46) And said unto them, 'Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation'." (Luke 22:39-46)
We read in the gospel of John, "(v.4) But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. (v.5) But now I go my way to Him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, 'Whither goest thou?' (v.6) But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. (v.7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. (v.8) And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (v.9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (v.10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (v.11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (v.12) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." (John 16:4-12) "(V.19) Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask Him, and said unto them, 'Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? (V.20) Verily, verily, I say unto you, 'That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.' (V.21) A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. (V.22) And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. (v.23) And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, 'Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.' (v.24)Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full'." (John 16:19-24)
The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, "(v.1) I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, (v.2) That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.(v.3) For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: (v.4) Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; (v.5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." (Romans 9:1-5)
To the Corinthians, he wrote, "(v.1) But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. (v.2) For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? (v.3) And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. (v.4) For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. (v.5) But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. (v.6) Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. (v.7) So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. (v.8)Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him." (2 Corinthians 2:1-8) We also read, "(v.1) Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (v.2) Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. (v.3) I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. (v.4) Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. (v.5) For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. (v.6) Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; (v.7) And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. (v.8) For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. (v.9) Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. (v.10) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (v.11) For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (v.12) Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you." (2 Corinthians 7:1-12)
Paul exhorted those in Philippi, "(v.20) For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. (v.21) For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. (v.22) But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. (v.23) Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. (v.24) But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. (v.25) Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. (v.26) For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
(v.27) For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. (v.28) I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. (v.29) Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: (v.30) Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me." (Philippians 2:21-30)
Those in Thessalonica were admonished, "(v.9) But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. (v.10) And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; (v.11) And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; (v.12) That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. (v.13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." (1 Thessalonians 4:9-13)
We can rejoice that we are told by the apostle John, "(v.3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.' (v.4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (v.5) And he that sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' And he said unto me, 'Write: for these words are true and faithful'."
How wonderful that we have One who passed through much sorrow Himself (Matthew 26:38-39, John 11:33-35, shares in our own sorrows (Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 1:3-6), and will one day banish sorrow from His presence! (Revelation 21:4)