i didnt know jonathan bird
today i am speaking at the funeral of a close friends brother who was murdered this past weekend. this is the message i am giving…
early sunday morning i received a phone call that jonathan bird had been attacked and killed in front of his home in wylie tx. i didnt know jonathan bird but he was the brother of a close family friend and as the story surrounding his death began to unfold a sense of numbing sadness came over me.
questions began to form in my mind. who would do such a thing? and why? but even as the answers to these questions came to light the tragedy of the events remained unsettled.
last nite i had dinner with the family and listened to stories about jonathan. stories about who he was and what he meant to the people closest to him. these stories were full of colorful descriptions of his fishing and cooking skills and they revealed the life of a man who was both loved and loving. a man who stepped into the lives of a family that was not his own and yet took them under his wing and cared for them in such a way as to make them his own.
one reference really stood out among the rest. in talking with his fiance and friends last nite they discussed getting tattooed with the numbers 381 in memory of jonathan. they explained the meaning as:
this was jonathans way of saying i love you. this revealed both his heart and mind when it came to his friends and family and showed me a man i would have been blessed to know. a man who enjoyed life and whose life was enjoyed by those around him.
in the wake of his passing i realize theres nothing i can say that will take away this tragedy. there are no words that can replace his life. but we have to acknowledge that the events that have brought us here today are evidence of the broken world in which we live. and we cannot afford to live thru this experience without considering just how fragile we are.
everyone at some time or another has heard a preacher give a frightening account of what happens to those who do not turn to jesus before they die. just like everyone has heard the exalted descriptions of a heaven with pearly gates and golden streets awaiting those who do turn. this turn or burn concept has been called the good news.
but is joy or pain in the afterlife really what the good news is all about? and what about right now? what is the good news for those who are suffering and grieving the loss of this beloved man? what good could possibly come from such a horrible tragedy?
as ive prayed and thot about it for the past few days it has become clear to me that the good news is that god the father suffers and grieves beside us today – aching just as we ache.
the good news is that he knows what its like to lose someone because his son was brutally beaten and murdered without cause.
the good news is that there is hope because the power of evil and death in this broken world is not the ultimate power.
the good news is that god the father raised jesus from the dead – giving a promise to everyone who would trust and follow him that they too would be raised.
the good news right now is that the new life god the father promises isnt put on hold until we pass from this world but takes immediate effect – giving us hope for living right where we are.
john 1:12-13 tells us:
to all who receive him and believe in his name he gives the right to become children of god – born not of blood or flesh or even mans own will – but born of god.
and isaiah 43:1-3 tells us:
do not fear because i have redeemed you – i have called you by your name and you are mine. i will be with you when you pass thru the waters and thru the rivers – they will not overwhelm you. you will not be scorched when you walk thru the fire and the flame will not burn you. for i am the lord your god the holy one of israel your savior.
in an evil broken world this is good news. we havent been left alone – he is right here with us. the power of evil and death is not the ultimate power. there is hope in the promise of god. hope for life…
this is the good news. and it can begin for you today.
below is the news report from the local abc affiliate: