When the disciples came together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Human One is about to be delivered over into human hands. They will kill him. But he will be raised on the third day.” And they were heartbroken (Matthew 17:22-23, Common English Bible).
Have you ever been heartbroken? I feel pretty safe in saying that just about all of us have faced that at some point in our lives. Even if it was the loss of a junior high crush, we have felt that pain of loss. If you haven’t, there is a really strong possibility that it will come your way in the future. If it doesn’t, you may have the most broken of all hearts because there is no love there.
Today’s very short lesson, only two verses, has the twelve feeling heartbroken. Some might ask, “Jesus is still with them, why would they feel heartbroken? Would that not come when Jesus would actually die?” It might be that, for you, you have never had a person in your life that received a terminal diagnosis and you had to live out the last days with them. The words are enough to rip your heart out and yet you know you have to stay strong for this person you love.
I think that is what the twelve were feeling. But, I think it might have been even worse. Jesus had already told the twelve that he was going to die. It was in just the last chapter when Jesus made his first prediction of his death. One of them, Peter, tried to correct Jesus. He caught some grief for that effort. It may well have been that the first time none of the twelve really believed it was true.
It would have been a subject none of the twelve wanted to talk about or think about. After the first time, perhaps they thought, “Well that’s behind us now. Enough of the death nonsense. Let’s get back to the business at hand.”
If I have learned nothing else in my 26 years in ministry, I have learned that death is anything but nonsense and you can’t just put it behind you. It is real and it touches the lives of real people, bringing them a great deal of pain. And, if you have experienced it, you also know, for the person who died, the pain is gone. For those who remain behind the pain and the heartbreak only increase.
Jesus tried to bring some good news with the bad. Yes, he was going to die, but three days later he would rise. But I don’t think the 12 were ready to hear that yet. For them, the first time might have seemed to be idle talk. For Jesus to bring it up again so soon, they knew there was nothing idle this time. And, like for us many times, all they could see was a tragic end to a story of which they loved being a part.
While we often may feel sad about the death of Jesus, we feel sad about what he had to endure for us. We also know the truth of the good news in Jesus’ words to the twelve that day. He would and he did rise. Thanks be to God.
What are the times in life that have brought you real heartbreak?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved