Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Rom. 12:15 ESV)
It is extremely rare to find someone who consistently personifies the above-mentioned teaching from the Scripture. Perhaps it is due to the old enemy, envy, or maybe it is the lack of empathy or some other problems residing deep in the heart. Whatever the reason, we must overcome this enemy to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.
Let us consider two incidents in the life of the Lord Jesus where first He gracefully participated in a moment of joy and later an occasion of mourning in order that we can learn from His example.
The first incident takes place in the Galilean town of Cana, where a wedding was being celebrated. This particular wedding is probably the best-known wedding in history principally because Jesus himself was there. For Christians the event is especially memorable as it is here that the Lord performed His first miracle, as recorded in the Gospel of John. As an Easterner myself I can resonate very much with one of the concerns which certainly the bride and groom and their parents would have felt on the wedding day: whether there would be enough food to serve the numerous guests, both the invited as well as the uninvited. In the case of the wedding in Cana, their fears were justified. Everyone was enjoying a good time when suddenly they ran out of wine. We all know the rest of the story.
The act of Jesus turning the water into wine is not to be regarded as a miracle only. I think Jesus is also reminding us of an important principle. As the anointed Messiah the last place where one would expect Jesus to be is at a simple wedding ceremony in a small town in Galilee. Jesus had greater missions to fulfill. He had many sick people to heal. There were multitudes to whom He desired to preach the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, in the midst of these pressing concerns we find the Lord joyfully participating in this small-town wedding.
Whether at home or office or church, are we quick to find fault with the proposal, perhaps without even hearing the person out? We must never become known as the spoiler of all ideas.
The lesson Jesus is teaching us is profound. Even when an overridingly great mission lies before us, we still need to pause to share in the joy of those around us. Though never married during His terrestrial ministry, Jesus didn’t feel compelled to skip this marriage function.
Are we able to rejoice with others when they experience delight in something lying outside our immediate goals and interests? Could jealousy be hampering our heartfelt response of glee with a friend who is getting married or having children or receiving a promotion?
We should be able to rejoice with all the legitimate occasions of others’ happiness. What about when some exciting project or idea is put forth by another? Whether at home or office or church, are we quick to find fault with the proposal, perhaps without even hearing the person out? We must never become known as the spoiler of all ideas. Condemning out of hand the proposals of others means that we are not only failing to rejoice with them but may well be hindering the work the Lord wants to accomplish.
What about tears or sorrow? This is not a pleasant topic but let us once again consider what Jesus shows us.
He wept publicly. He felt the people’s sorrow and wept with those who were mourning. We should not forget that as a rabbi Jesus was regarded as man of authority and one to be respected.
This time we find Jesus at Bethany about sixty miles to the south of Cana. The stage here is the tomb where Lazarus lay, having been buried four days prior. The buried man and his sisters Martha and Mary were close friends of the Lord. The sisters of Lazarus and the crowd who had come to be with them in the moment of their grief were weeping. The occasion was sorrowful indeed. And what did Jesus do?
We read, “Jesus was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled,” (John. 11:33 ESV). In the following verses we read, “Jesus wept,” (John. 11:35 ESV).
Many things can be said about Jesus’ response but the one thing I want you to see is that Jesus wept. In fact, He wept publicly. He felt the people’s sorrow and wept with those who were mourning. We should not forget that as a rabbi Jesus was regarded as a man of authority and one to be respected. Additionally, Jesus was quickly approaching the culmination of his earthly ministry. But Jesus was not willing to hold back his tears merely because of His societal position or concern for what others might think of Him.
Jesus’ message is not to merely shed some tears for everyone who mourns or is sorrowful. Rather we are to find meaningful ways to console and to comfort others in their time of sorrows. Perhaps this consists of just being present with them, or it might be a hug. Maybe it is a card or it might be expressed through prayer.
Experiences which leave us suffering grief and loss are unavoidable in this earthly life. In these cases, feelings of sorrow are legitimate. Oftentimes, I am tempted to say, “do not feel sad” to myself or others. However, that is not wise counsel. The Lord Jesus says, blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matt. 5:4 ESV). The Lord not only preached it, He showed it through His ministry.
You can find more of Dijo’s articles in this link. https://renewinknowledge.org/author/dijoforyou/