Submitting Our Emotions to Christ

MP3 Audio: WWS_30006-Dn_Joseph-Submitting-Our-Emotions-to-Christ.mp3

This homily was preached on Sunday morning, August 24, 2014,
at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois, by Dn. Joseph Gleason.

Transcription by Christa Conrad.

~

Gospel Reading: Luke 19:41-47

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. God is One.

Jesus wept.

Just as we have much to learn from Jesus, in regard to humility, in regard to love, in regard to mercy, and in regard to sacrifice, we also have a great deal to learn from Jesus in regard to the proper exercise of our emotions.

Jesus was no stoic with a hardened blank stare. He didn’t sit by, unmoved by sorrow and suffering. He felt so deeply, that tears poured from His eyes, on three different occasions recorded in Scripture. At least three different times, Jesus wept.

And we are moved by His humanity. We are moved by His emotion. We are moved by His tears. But He did not always cry for the same reasons that we do. We do not always cry for the same reasons that He did. And because of this, we have a lot to learn.

Jesus did not cry over His financial situation. He was in poverty. He said the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. But He did not say that, weeping. When thousands of people rejected His words and turned their backs on Him and walked with Him no more, Jesus did not cry for His loss of popularity.

And yet when I look at the things He did cry about, I have to wonder, would we cry in those same situations? If you knew that you had such a direct line to God, that you could perform fantastic miracles, and you knew for a fact that you were about to raise somebody from the dead, and that as a result of that, many people would come and have faith in God, would you cry? Would you weep?

You see, so often, we weep because we feel helpless. Someone or something that we love has been taken away from us. And there’s nothing we can do about it. So we weep. That’s why we weep at funerals.

It’s not why Jesus wept at the funeral of Lazarus. Jesus had no thoughts going through His mind, such as, “Oh, I will never, never see poor Lazarus again! I’ll never hear his voice again! I’ll never be able to talk to my friend Lazarus again!” He knew that He would be talking to him that afternoon. He knew that Lazarus’ sisters and friends would have their crying turned into joy, in a very short period of time.

I still have a long way to go. If I knew that I had the ability to raise somebody from the dead, I would be grinning from ear to ear! I’d walk into this funeral, everybody would be weeping, everybody would be crying, and I wouldn’t be able to hold it in! I’d just be smiling, because I’d know! “I know something you don’t know!” I would know that their tears are about to disappear! I would know that once he comes out of that casket, everybody is gonna rejoice!

Jesus knew what He was gonna do with Lazarus. Indeed, when He gets the news of Lazarus’ death, that is not when He weeps! That is not when He cries. He knew about Lazarus’ death. He goes on a journey to be near Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. He has a conversation with one of the sisters. And then, near the tomb, it says in Scripture that He heard the weeping of Lazarus’ sisters, and of Lazarus’ friends. He saw their pain, He saw their hurt. He saw their love for Lazarus. And in great compassion, He joined with them! He hurt with them! He wept with them! So much so, that even the people nearby looked at Jesus, and saw how He was crying, and said, “See how He loved him!” Because He had compassion on Mary, and on Martha, and on Lazarus’ friends, and because He loved Lazarus, Jesus wept!

In today’s Gospel reading, “Jesus wept.” Not over His friends, but over His enemies.

This judgment that was pronounced on the city of Jerusalem, was not a judgment upon Christians. It was a judgment that had been set forth upon those who had rejected Christ. Jesus knew that in just a few days, the crowds would be yelling, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! His Blood be upon our heads and upon our children!”

And indeed it was upon them and their children. For in less than one generation, less than forty years later, in 70 AD, the Roman armies encamped around Jerusalem, laying siege to the city. And in torment for the next several months, the people and the children of that city endured such abject starvation, as the world has rarely seen. It is recorded in the writings of Josephus, the Jewish historian, that mothers even ate the flesh of their own infant children. A couple of hungry soldiers realized that this one particular woman was cooking something. And they demanded that she share with them. She said, “Fine”, and she opened the lid, and they recoiled in horror as they saw the partially-eaten body of her child. The love had grown so cold! In rejecting Him who is Love, in rejecting Him who is Life, even the proverbial love of a mother had so disappeared that she was able to cook and eat her own baby.

And after this dragged on for months, eventually the Roman armies destroyed the entire city, destroyed Herod’s Temple, destroyed the walls. Not one stone was left upon another. And we cannot even say, at least from a human perspective, that it was to a good purpose. For when the Roman armies destroyed the city of Jerusalem, and sacked and pillaged and looted it, and spilled the blood of over one million people, even when they carried the riches out of that city, it was not for a good purpose. You see, the Romans hated Christ just as much as those Jews did. It has been said that the money taken from Jerusalem in 70 AD, is the very money used to build the Coliseum — in which, in the successive centuries, Christians would be thrown to the wild beasts and torn limb from limb, as Rome expended it’s wrath, upon those who served Christ.

How many of us would weep and cry to hear of the destruction of our enemies? The death of our friend? Sure! But when somebody mocks you and spits upon you, and treats you horribly, and you find out that finally they are going to get what they deserve, how many of us would weep over that? Many would smile! Many would throw a party! Many who would laugh and say, “It’s about time!”

You see, in the death of Lazarus, Jesus wept for His friends.
And foreseeing the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus wept for His enemies.
For, you see, He loved them both!

And if we are to follow Christ, then we too must love –not only our friends — but our enemies, not rejoicing at their downfall, but weeping at it.

The third time that it is recorded that Jesus wept, is in the fifth chapter of the book of Hebrews. Many commentators believe it’s a reference to Gethsemane. But in His flesh, Jesus loudly wept and cried tears as He poured His heart out to God the Father.

The first two times Jesus wept, He was showing love for His friends and for His enemies. In this case, He himself is experiencing personal sorrow, and anguish, and suffering.

In the same situation, we might say, “Well, I would cry too!” But why would we cry? Where would we cry? For whom would we cry?

We might cry in front of our family and friends, hoping for sympathy, hoping that they would either remove the problem or at least give us some comfort by weeping with us. But you don’t see Jesus crying when the lash of the Roman whip comes down upon His back. You don’t see Jesus crying, from the cross, when people are mocking Him and cursing Him. You don’t see Jesus crying for the sake of the Disciples, waiting for them to have sympathy for Him. When Jesus cries out in His sorrow and in His anguish, He cries out to the One, and Only One, whom He trusts to do something about it, and to carry Him through it. He cries out to God, the Father!

In no case was Jesus helpless. Even on the day of His Crucifixion, Jesus said that He could call upon His Father, and twelve legions of angels would come and rescue the situation. Jesus, at all times, was in control. Jesus was never an unwilling victim or a helpless victim.

When Jesus wept tears, it was never out of selfishness. It was never out of self-centeredness. It was never out of helplessness. It was never out of a lack of trust in God.

Jesus wept for Lazarus because He wept for those whom He loves, those who are His friends. Jesus wept for Jerusalem, because He also loves His enemies. And Jesus wept in Gethsemane, as He prayed to the Father, for it was the Father alone to whom He entrusted His tears, His sorrow, and His future.

If we are to follow in Christ’s footsteps, let us not be stoical. Let us not be unfeeling. Let us feel emotions deeply! Let the tears pour from our eyes! But let it be for the same reasons that Jesus wept. Let us cry, not out of selfishness and helplessness, but let us cry in compassion for other people, who we love, people who are our friends, people who are our family. And yes, even weeping for those of us who are our enemies. Not seeking their destruction, but seeking their reconciliation and their healing, too. And when we do find ourselves in anguish, and strife, and turmoil, and sorrow, let us not merely weep before other people, who can only give us comfort by joining with us in our sorrow. But even moreso, let us pour out our tears before God in prayer, trusting that He alone is able to help us and to save us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, God is one, Amen.

~

This homily was preached on Sunday morning, August 24, 2014,
at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois, by Dn. Joseph Gleason.

Transcription by Christa Conrad.

Advertisements

About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in Fr. Joseph Gleason, Luke 19:41-47. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Submitting Our Emotions to Christ

  1. Pam says:

    Such an excellent sermon! We should follow Jesus in this area as well.

  2. Pam Fortner says:

    Excellent!!!

    >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s