God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. (Luke 6:21)
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matt 5:4)
In this passage Jesus is still addressing His disciples. These four beatitudes of Luke’s are personalized for the disciples. Following these beatitudes Luke lists four woes which are unique to Luke alone. You won’t find the equivalent of these elsewhere. Make sure you contrast them with Luke’s beatitudes. [I include that comment only to get you ready for the next section after this.]
Now we come to a verse which is a little problematic. What is the context of this verse? We can understand the context of hunger and thirst and poor, even in Luke. The disciples are in a situation where this is directly relevant to them. They have no jobs now and are merely following this new rabbiaround who stirs up trouble wherever He goes. At times the disciples bear the brunt of the reaction of the Pharisees toward them personally. The other three beatitudes fit without a problem but the same can’t be said for “those who weep”. What has happened to cause the disciples to weep? Nothing specifically. What about Matthew’s use of “mourning”? But there has been nothing that has happened to cause the disciples to mourn. That fact has led some to think this section has been moved here from another time frame and placed Luke’s Gospel where it doesn’t fit. But we do have the parallel passage in Matthew at this place. Some postulate this section in Luke is eclectic, gathered from numbers of different sermons so it is not tagged to a time frame.
This section would make more sense if it came after Lazarus being buried in the tomb. That would fit. Notice the difference between Matthew’s focus on mourning and Luke’s on weeping. Where Matthew’s is connected with death and mourning Luke’s is a more general weeping. There may not be a specific reason for mourning at this point in the story but to live on earth means to face death. We never know when it will strike but we know it will come. It is inevitable. All who live on this earth face death. The question is: when?
If we are interpreting Matthew’s gospel it is easier because his beatitudes have a spiritual focus so we can spiritualize his words. However Luke’s is starkly pragmatic and down to earth. Why is he writing about Jesus’ sermon and using the word weep rather than mourning. It makes more sense if he is pondering the afterlife with the awareness that we are all going to die. But instead he uses “weep”.
Let’s look at the shortest verse in the Bible for a moment. ‘Jesus wept.’ (John 11:35) You can read what I wrote about it when we were Gemming John in Gems 76 –78. What made Jesus weep? As I said at the time “So what is going here? His feelings have to be connected with something more than Lazarus being dead. In a few short moments he won’t be dead. Having researched the words in the text we gain a better idea of what is happening. Jesus anger is a snort of indignation in the spirit. Deep seated indignation against what should not be. Death has come into this world through sin. Being at a friend’s funeral with the mourners wailing touches Jesus’ spirit with a snort of indignation. A sense rising up against that which has ruined the plan for there to be no death and no suffering. Jesus feelings are rooted deep in the big picture.” I refuse to believe He is crying at losing Lazarus. It can’t be that. It has to be a continuation of the feelings of indignation and frustration at this universe crying out waiting for its redemption.
As in John 11, I think Jesus was talking about was more than the emotions of feeling “happy” or “sad”. I think He again was thinking of the kinds of things I expressed in Gem 78 above. Do you get burden about the state of the world? The suffering you see and hear about? Man’s inhumanity to man? I have just read the news from NZ. Senseless murders, robberies where serious injuries are sustained all for the sake of a few hundred dollars. Elderly people being attacked and savagely beaten by a gang of youths, children maimed by their own parents. Do I need to go on? It’s enough to make you weep. Exactly! Isn’t that Jesus point?
If this weeping is to do with mourning at a funeral, then yes you may weep now but in due time you will laugh. The Gospel is the best news you will ever hear this side of the Styx River. Dead holds no fear because when it happens you will be give release from suffering and go to be with Christ, which Paul says is better by far. Only Post Resurrection Christian perspective can give you that hope! Now that is something worth laughing about. I don’t know how people get through this life without Christ.
If this weeping is to do with the kind of weeping Jesus did at Lazarus’ funeral then yes it too makes you want to weep. But if you are someone who does weep at these things and whose spirit is grieved at the results of sin, even your own sin, then you know you are on God’s side. His Holy Spirit is working within you to make you intercede at whatever level for this broken hurting world that is crying out for redemption. If you are weeping for reasons akin to that then be encouraged brother or sister. You will know the reality of your mourning turn to joy when all is revealed; know the truth of Psalm 30:11.
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy. When you live that reality weeping ain’t a problem. Our light and momentary afflictions are put into perspective.2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Mourning is but for a moment and Joy comes in the morning.
Is your joy based on circumstances or something more than circumstances? Do you know life joy or are you still locked into event joy? When good things happen you can be joyful; but when things start to wrong your joy rapidly turns to sorrow. Can you sing with Paul and Silas in the stocks in the deepest part of the prison? Can you sing worship songs in the midst of a hurricane? Now that is life joy. It bubbles up from within. Myth or fact? You answer the question.
Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps.Brennan Manning
When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum + dream again!Rick Godwin
Christianity is way bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside. People looking at it from the outside see rules and regulations, and think, “I could never live in such a small, constrained place.” But on the inside there is God Himself, a fountain of life, joy, peace, rest, purpose, pleasure, true soul satisfaction.Tim Keller
For most people, under a veneer of success and apparent happiness, there is a sadness and a cosmic emptiness. Christians are the opposite: under the inevitable sadness that comes from just being in this world, there is a fountain of joy.Tim Keller
You don’t stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing.Michael Pritchard
Waiting until you FEEL like doing something may be the most common mistake you make.Rick Warren