Dog Food Tears

Matthew - Masterclass  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:04
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We mourn because we have lost someone, something, or some hope. We mourn because our soul recognizes this is not how it is supposed to be. There is no comfort possible in this world, only resignation and forgetfulness. There is comfort in the kingdom of God because we know the king will and is now setting things right side up: total and complete restoration and Resurrection.

Farmers Dog Food

This commercial came up in the Super Bowl a few months ago. Young girl get a puppy, names it Bear and says “I’ll take care of you forever!”
And then you watch them both grow up, and the girl goes off to college, and then gets married, and then dog is there for all of it.
And then the dog is super old lying down with her on the bed and… fade to black.
Buy Farmer’s Dog Food… because nothing is more important than more time together.
That’s messed up. And I’m messed up. I’m trying to watch a football game, not have an emotional crisis. We have all these peoples over… I’m losing it.
I’m thinking about my “puppy”… who turns “42” September 18. She catches up in age with me.
I mentioned that to my kids, and that was their first thought. 42!!! Vin is SO OLD!!! Yeah, thanks.
Do you ever just sit there and think of all the sad days that are coming? All the sad things that could happen? Doesn’t that just sound wonderful?
That sounds like a Saturday night for some of you. I’m praying for you.
But maybe for most of us… we don’t like to dwell on that stuff. Move on, move past it, get to the “good” stuff. The happy, the fun, the good. And when we think about loss, we want it to drive us to make the most of the time we have… not sit in the suck.

Summary

Recall Jesus, sitting on the mount, likely overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and all the crowds following him, crowding in to hear his words.
And he starts, blessed are the poor in Spirit, the spiritually bankrupt… they get the Kingdom of God.
For the King is here, and His Kingdom is here… and you are in if he says you are in.
Jesus proclaims the radical new availability of His Kingdom: the place, time and people where His Will is done.

Blessed are the Mourners

Then, I picture him turning to someone caught up in a moment of grief.
Maybe they just said goodbye to the family dog that morning.
Maybe they are wishing Jesus had been around two weeks ago when they’re son died.
If you think about the mortality rates, especially the child mortality rates… this is a people well acquainted with grief and loss of so many kinds.
So, again we are used to these words, this would have SHOCKING to his first listeners.
Matthew 5:4 ESV
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Good news! Congratulations! You’re sad. Huzzah! Congratulations to those who are mourning.
Pentheo. Mourn, be sad, grieve, lament.
This is someone wounded by loss and in immediate pain. Not the “good cry.” The ugly cry.
An Ancient Egyptian practice the people of Israel picked up was the professional mourner. Someone who was SO good at expressing lament, weeping and wailing, nearly screaming the pain. Expressing more powerfully what you’re feeling inside.
There are two main contexts in which this word shows up in the Bible.
Lamenting over death… and over sin.
If you caught Pastor Rod’s sermon I sent out, he connects this Blessing to mourning over sin in our lives.
There is absolutely this thread in the Bible of “mourning” and “lamenting” over sin. That grieves the heart of God and it should grieve ours.
There are Scriptures where Paul or James calls sinners to the table: don’t boast in your sin, rather mourn and weep before God!
And this could absolutely be. Jesus, seeing the heart, talking to someone in the second row who has been Holy Spirit convicted of their sin and is mourning over it. That isn’t hard to imagine at all.
The primary use of this word occurs when people die, and we rightly mourn their loss. And that isn’t a stretch at all for Jesus to be talking to someone who has lost someone recently.
We can even extend this to mourning situations that never happened, opportunities that didn’t work out, visions of the future we had our heart set on… and not getting there feels like a loss.
Imagine the disappointment of any faithful Jew seeing a Roman soldier walking by, living in hostile occupation. There is grief in that. Mourning and loss.
I think Jesus is talking about any and all of these. Though he has just been bringing healing to the masses, he knows there is deep and profound loss represented in the crowd. Why? Because it’s a crowd of humans in this fallen world… and that is something we all carry. We collect it in life.
We mourn because we have lost someone, something, or some hope.
The story of life is one of loss. The longer you live, the more people and things and hopes you have… the more loss you will collect.
That’s… pretty depressing, isn’t it?
We mourn because our soul recognizes this is not how it is supposed to be.

Comfort of the World

The world ultimately has no comfort to offer. None.
This famous cliche “Time Heals all Wounds.”
Does it though?
There’s a great t-shirt: “Time Heals All Woulds… except mortal wounds.”
What is that really? Resignation and forgetfulness.
Because that’s all they have.
Don’t worry, there is absolutely nothing anyone can to help you… but your brain is faulty and it won’t hurt so much later.
There’s plenty of variations of this. Time teaches us to live with the loss...
Or “covers them with scar tissue.”
Is that better?
We mourn because our soul recognizes this is not how it is supposed to be.
We mourn because our soul recognizes this is not how it is supposed to be.
Isn’t that strange that we even have a sense that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be???
On the pure mechanical, evolutionism view of life, that all we are and all we have ever been is an endless sequence of death and procreation… isn’t death and loss the most natural thing in the world?
We should be surprised and every day of life, not mourning and grieving over the loss.
And what evolutionary advantage does that give, by the way? Debilitating sorrow, seasons of depression, mourning and lamenting...
No! Our soul recognizes this is not how it is supposed to be!
​We, humans, were made in the image of God to be in the presence of God, the Kingdom of God… and there was no death and no sorrow. No loss.
Every loss and death is a cascading consequence of sin and death in the world. Directly or indirectly… and our soul recognizes it as WRONG.
So the world has no answer to these things. “That’s just the way it is.” Forget and move on or… don’t.

Comfort of the Kingdom

What Jesus’ comfort looks like:
John 11:21–22 ESV
21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
Mary says much the same in just a bit.
Martha mourns.
But, blessings, she is a citizen of the Kingdom of God… and she is looking at her King.
Blessed is she for she will be comforted!
What does Jesus’ comfort look like?
John 11:23–25 ESV
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
And then, to forever demonstrates that Jesus’ comfort goes beyond any empty platitude. He joins Mary and Martha in their mourning...
Shortest verse, but oh so profound. At the tomb of Lazarus:
John 11:35 ESV
35 Jesus wept.
He joins them in their grief and mourning, how beautiful is that? Even though he knows that joy is just around the corner: Jesus weeps with those who weep.
Blessed are all those that mourn… for they shall be comforted.
For death is wrong. Loss is wrong. And here comes King Jesus to set things right side up. God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven:
John 11:41–44 ESV
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
If only Jesus showed up at every graveside service and resurrected us then!!!
Lazarus was temporary. A taste of what was and is to come. What about the rest of us?
So Paul writes citizens of the Kingdom with this encouragement. This comfort:
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 ESV
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
“Encourage” one another with these words.
Same Word.
“Comfort” one another. “parakaleo”, come alongside one another with these words.
Call one another forth with these words.
There is comfort in the Kingdom of God because we know the King will and is now setting things right side up: total and complete Restoration and Resurrection.
There is comfort in the kingdom of God because we know the king will and is now setting things right side up: total and complete Restoration and Resurrection.
So Jesus, walking down that front line, is bringing good news to people who never had it before. Didn’t understand it, and what they could have understood, is now newly present and available to them.
GOOD NEWS! Congratulations! Blessings on those who mourn. Not because you mourn...
Because the Kingdom of God is here. And so you shall be comforted.
There is healing and resurrection, there is restoration in the Kingdom.
Now in part, and then in full…
Friends, we have a comfort, a hope, a peace that passes all understanding of the watching world. What a gift it is. What a treasure.
Yes, we still have grief and mourning for a moment. We don’t bury that, we don’t pretend we don’t feel it, we do…
But even in that grief, we are blessed. Because we know it’s all temporary. That the day is coming when we will dwell together in the house of the Lord.
Blessed are you.
And what a word of blessing you have to the world around you. A world that is desperately distracting itself from hopelessness and existential fear. Of course they are, they have to!
But where you go, there is an outpost of the Kingdom of God. Hope comes with you, comfort comes with you, peace comes with you.
Revelation 21:1–4 ESV
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
That is the comfort of the Kingdom. That is Shalom, peace that passes all understanding.
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