A Story of Jesus in Grief
Reading Matthew chapter fourteen, I came upon a truth that struck me to my very being. The chapter begins with Jesus finding out his cousin, John the Baptist, has been executed. The narrative tells us that Jesus upon hearing the news tries to go into a time of solitude. He wants to be alone to process and grieve. So he takes the boat and sets out to find his quiet place. Instead, he is met with the crowds.
Having lost family members, this is not the time I want to be working, ministering, or even around people. In my sad moments, I would honestly like to to be alone, express my grief, and process the loss. The story says Jesus had compassion on the people and began healing their sick. In Jesus' moment of needing to be cared for he still empties himself to those around him. As my three year old would say, "holy guacamole." I can't help but think that some professionals would be telling Jesus he needs to create some healthy boundaries and take some time for self-care.
As amazing as that part of the tale is, Jesus' followers come to him and tell him they need to send the people away so they can get food. Jesus then proceeds to give away their provisions. Now in fairness, the food was, and everyone got to eat. The power of the action still stands. After suffering the loss of a family member, be active and ministering for the whole day, Jesus then gives away his only food. Jesus seems to be emptying himself purposely!
Finally, people have been healed and fed. Do you think Jesus then tells the disciples to wrap things up so he can find that quiet place to grieve? No. Instead, Jesus sends his disciples away and finishes with the crowds. It is only when the masses are loved for and cared for, that Jesus then departs for his solitude.
I believe Matthew fourteen's story reveals more of Jesus' humanity than most. We hear of a Jesus who has come face to face with a genuine and very extreme event that happens to humans, the unexpected death of a loved one. Like most of us in the modern world, we do not get ample time to process the grief we may be feeling. No, instead the lesson taught in this hard time in our lives is that the world keeps on spinning. Work still needs to be done. Despite our grief, our lives usually do not give us time to grieve properly. I find the story to be so human I can relate to Jesus in ways I didn't think I could.
Hearing Jesus' story of grief and life does it speak to you? Do you find yourself connecting on a deeper level to Jesus? Does it surprise you to find Jesus in grief?