Even as the world unites in grief over the death of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, we would like to take a compassionate look at death and what it means to grieve. How do you grieve? Is there a good way and a wrong way? Can you grieve too much? And is there a day when it’s necessary to dry your eyes and face again the life that has brought on so much hardship and pain?
In the gospel of Matthew we see Jesus’ reaction to pain in Chapter 14 verse 13. We’re told in the preceding verses that Herod had beheaded John the Baptist to please his guests after his step-daughter, prompted by her mother Herodias, asked for the prophet’s head on a platter. Verse 12 says that afterwards John’s disciples went and took his body to be buried, “then they went and told Jesus.”
Jesus’ reaction on hearing of the death of his cousin John is to withdraw from everything and everyone. We don’t know what he was thinking, because we aren’t told. We can, however, infer a few things from a study of his life: that he was a man unashamed of showing and expressing deep emotions. For instance when his friend Lazarus died. Even though the Lord knew he’d raise him up, as he had mentioned in private to his disciples, his soul was still grievously distressed when he saw the grief in others at Lazarus’ death. [Read More…]