Blessed… And They Were Heartbroken

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


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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