Journal Matt 14 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “At that time Herod…heard about the fame of Jesus and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” (Herod said this because he had John beheaded. John’s disciples collected the body and buried John—then went to tell Jesus, John’s cousin. Summarized for sake of space.)
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (excerpts from Matt 14:1-14
Observation: What caught my eye this morning is Jesus’ mourning/grieving of John. I see godly character in his actions.
Analysis: Do I have a license to grieve?
Short answer: yes. Additional question: How long or in what form can I grieve? Ah, that is so much gray—there is not a cut and dried answer.
John and Jesus were family; cousins. John was 6 months older than Jesus. Scripture seems to allude that they were sort of aware of the connection that God had established between them. I must assume that, no matter how scripture talks about them (the conversation of Jesus being baptized by John, for instance), they knew about each other.
Therefore, when Jesus heard about John’s horrific death, he may have reacted in a crushed manner. “Guys, I need to take some time to myself, take care of things and I will be back soon…” and went off to be by himself; may have let the 3 disciples tag along—maybe not.
How did Jesus mourn? Scripture doesn’t say specifically, but scripture tells us about other men who did.
What the scripture does indicate is: Jesus went away to mourn; Other people were crass enough to chase him down; Jesus wasn’t so into himself that he had compassion on them—healed, taught, and even fed the crowd. Did he do all of that with tears? Maybe a heavy heart?
I imagine he didn’t quite put on a happy face, a mask, to face these strangers. I imagine that he slightly compartmentalized/subjugated his emotions so that he could serve well.
The scripture that bounces in my mind is about tears in a bottle (God is faithful) and weeping with those who weep. Grief is a part of life. How I manage my part of grief (whether for and to somebody or looking to be alone for a short while) is important to find biblically.
It is another part of developing godly character.
Prayer: I am empty, O Lord, and dredging through the mud of my feelings. Isolation is taking a toll.
“It is not good for man to be alone” and I am grateful for the companionship of my wife…still…
You provide for all my needs. I know my prayer is not in harmony with my post above, but You show some opposed things can be held lightly while looking to You for answers and support. Help me, Spirit, not to bore down into myself; reconcile me to the facts of my existence and the promise of the Things to come. AMEN