Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Hope comes through JESUS as He deals with GRIEF of a woman whose hope went out the door with the loss of her only son


Old world charm ........... No bath

Tropical .................. Rainy

Majestic setting .......... A long way from town

Options galore ............ Nothing is included in the itinerary

Secluded hideaway ......... Impossible to find or get to

Pre-registered rooms ...... Already occupied

Explore on your own ....... Pay for it yourself

Knowledgeable trip hosts .. They’ve flown in an airplane before

No extra fees ............. No extras

Nominal fee ............... Outrageous charge

Standard .................. Sub-standard

Deluxe .................... Standard

Superior .................. One free shower cap

All the amenities ......... Two free shower caps

Plush ..................... Top and bottom sheets

Gentle breezes ............ Occasional Gale-force winds

Light and airy ............ No air conditioning

Picturesque ............... Theme park nearby

I think sometimes that is just the way grief is dealt with these days. When grief comes, everyone it seems, becomes a tour guide… try to say something good and comforting about something that is not so nice, and it just comes out all wrong. Some say “don’t cry” – translation is “stuff it, I cannot take your wailing anymore,” Some say “it’s time to let go” –translation is “get over it”. Apparently, next week during President Bush’s 3 day state visit to Britain, he is scheduled to meet with families of British soldiers killed in Iraq. Mr Bush would meet relatives of British soldiers killed in Iraq to tell them they died for a "noble cause". He will also offer them the sympathy "of the American people and the prayers of the president" and tell them "that their loved ones did not die in vain". But some translate that as “uncaring” using it to score points for themselves in justifying the war in Iraq.

Robert Kelly, whose son is 18-year-old, Private Andrew Kelly, who was killed in a shooting accident in Basra, Iraq, said that Mr Bush and Tony Blair do not care about the deaths of British troops. These were his words: "For these people to meet families, it is only for their own gain. They are not sympathetic towards people like me. They don’t really care that my son lost his life. Tony Blair doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about anyone. So what does George Bush care about our families and my family? He doesn’t care." Can you just hear the grief, the anguish, the pain in those words?

And I wonder what would Jesus do with grief, the pain and the anguish of people. Does He say get over it, stuff it, get with it, or offer prayers? What could He do about grief? To catch a glimpse of Jesus’ reaction to grief, read with me this Bible passage:

11Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, with a great crowd following him. 12A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The boy who had died was the only son of a widow, and many mourners from the village were with her. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. "Don’t cry!" he said. 14Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. "Young man," he said, "get up." 15Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk to those around him! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, "A mighty prophet has risen among us," and "We have seen the hand of God at work today." 17The report of what Jesus had done that day spread all over Judea and even out across its borders. Luke 7:11-17 (NLT)

A. Jesus validates our feelings!

It is no use stuffing your emotions. Never were we made to be emotionless. Never were we made to be unfeeling. Never were we made to be like machines that can turn on and off with a switch or a button. Never were we made to be a statistic, a number, a piece of junk. Never were me made to not care, not get a lump on the throat as someone is suffering. Look at what Jesus said as recorded in Matt5:3,4 (NIV),

3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Do you see that Jesus validates how we feel? Do you see it’s okay to be honest about our grief? Psalm 62:8 (NIV) says it clearly: “Trust in him at all times, O people; POUR OUT YOUR HEARTS TO HIM, for God is our refuge.” Here is the reality… God wants to come us in the painful and tragic moments of life.

See how Jesus walked over to the coffin and then gasp! He touched the coffin. It is a taboo in those days to touch anything that is associated with a dead body and yet He would walk over there and touch. Unclean! He could have said: “I’m just too busy, got crowds hounding me… besides it is not the right thing to do, it’s unclean”

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