Rejoicing and Weeping
Week 4 of a 6 week series looking at Romans 12
Go ahead and start turning to Romans 12 as we are getting ready
In it we are “flashing back” to the life of Jesus, and in particular His work on the cross, to help us understand how it is that we are supposed to live as his followers.
Week one - Living sacrifice
Week two - What true, genuine love looks like.
Week Three - How we are to get through the trials and storms that life throws at us
This week we are looking at how we should respond to and with those around us when they experiance the highs and lows of life.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
Paul encourages us in our relationships with one another, explaining how to be a community of brothers and sisters in Christ: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
First, we need to enter into the joy of others, by delighting and being glad when others are experiencing success, blessings, and good situations in life.
When we flash back to the life of Jesus, we witness Jesus rejoicing in the success of his disciples.
Jesus sends out the 72 to preach and teach
In v. 17 they come back and are totally amazed at what they have been able to do. They are giddy.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
And after pointing them the to the right thing Jesus rejoices with them.
However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, because this was your good pleasure.
Jesus is taking delight and joy in the accomplishments of his disciples.
They aren’t fully mature yet (infants) but he is still rejoicing with them.
We often think of Jesus as the “man of sorrows,” yet Jesus was also filled with joy.
Hebrews 1:9 and Psalm 45:6–7 declare that God anointed Jesus with “the oil of joy.”
Likewise, as followers of Jesus, we are to rejoice when our brothers and sisters rejoice.
We need to celebrate with them.
Too often we are concerned about being “appropriate” and we can stifle our joy.
Here is a great demonstration of what it means to rejoice with others, as a man celebrates a family member’s high school graduation
However, at times we struggle to rejoice with those who are rejoicing.
One of the most challenging things in life is to rejoice in the success and blessings of others, especially when we are hurting or in difficult situations.
When the reports of Jesus’s success came to John the Baptizer and the latter’s influence over the Israelites was decreasing, John’s response is found in John 3:27–30
John responded, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of him.’ He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Sometimes it is hard to rejoice with others isn’t it.
We can feel like that maybe the thing they are rejoicing over isn’t worthwhile
Or that they got something that we wanted
In addition to rejoicing with those who rejoice, Paul instructs us to mourn with those who mourn.
By learning to weep with those who weep, we can enter the pain of others and minister the love and peace of Jesus.
Again, when we flash back to Jesus, we see the Son of God weeping with those who wept.
Best example of this is one that we probably all all.
we often mention the shortest verse in our English Bibles is found in John 11:35: “Jesus wept.” but what is the story behind this verse?
In John 11, Jesus learns that his good friend Lazarus has died. (Most of John 11)
When Jesus arrives in Bethany at the home of Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha, four days have passed since Lazarus had died and was buried.
In this story, Jesus steps into one of humankind’s greatest griefs—the loss of a loved one. The pain and emotional agony that Martha and Mary felt were overwhelming. In the same manner, Jesus steps into our moments of greatest hurt, confusion, loss, and trials.
Mary goes out to meet Jesus, falls at his feet, and utters the exact words that Martha also spoke: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32). As Mary was in the presence of Jesus, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33). Jesus’s reaction is powerful. He “was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”
Jesus is not removed from our sufferings, pain, and heartbreak. Jesus enters into our emotional pain.
What is interesting is that Jesus knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:23).
But rather than seeking to encourage Mary and telling her just to wait because everything was about to change, and joy was moments away, Jesus wept.
The biblical response to those who are hurting and in pain is first to comfort. Jesus weeps with those who weep. In her moment of sorrow, Jesus entered into Mary’s pain to comfort her.
When people are hurting, merely being with them and weeping with them is the greatest ministry you can provide them.
That is precisely what Jesus did with Mary.
Also, Job’s friends did wonderfully at first, when “they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:13).
It was when they opened their mouths and attempted to offer their wisdom and understanding that things went downhill in the story.
Entering people’s pain can be very challenging to us for several reasons:
(1) Fear of not knowing what to say or do. (Remember, we do not need to say anything, but simply be present with them and listen if they want to talk.)
(2) Being too busy. (Weeping with who are hurting takes time—a lot of time. Yet Jesus went out of his way to comfort those in pain.)
(3) Being afraid you won’t be able to answer their questions. (Again, we aren’t there to provide answers but to provide comfort.)
(4) Being worried we can’t fix their sorrow. (It is not our job to fix them. Their healing will be a journey with the Father.)
We must believe in, celebrate, and genuinely care for one another as the body of Christ. As Paul also told the church in Corinth, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Being Brothers and Sisters in Christ means that we share the joys and burdens of one another.
We do it together
I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.
Right now we can feel separated and alone, but we aren’t. We are united in with God by Christ’s glory.
We talked last week about getting through life’s storms
But here is the thing, we get to do it together
We get to come along side that other person and laugh and dance and rejoice with them.
And we get to come alongside someone else and weep and scream and mourn with them.
This is the great honor of my ministry.
I hope that it is for you as well.
Ask our selves, are we rejoicing with others? Are we weeping with others?
Because if we are not, we are leaving a huge chunk of what it means to be a follower of Jesus on the table.