Posted On May 18, 2020

Sighs and Tears: Imitating the Emotional Life of Jesus

by | May 18, 2020 | Suffering and the Christian, Featured

I came to Mark 7:12 in my Bible reading today. There we are told that when enemies of Jesus came to argue with him, “he sighed deeply in his spirit.” That is worth noting. Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit; the sigh of grief and weariness; the sigh of sadness and longing; the sigh that yearns for others to hear and understand; the sigh that wonders when others will “get it”; the sigh of indignation-longing-for-vindication that happens when sin continues and justice delays.

In Matthew 17:17, Jesus wearily cries, “How long?”. In Hebrews 5:7, he “prays with loud cries and tears.” In Matthew 26:37, 38, he is “sorrowful and troubled”; so much so that he feels like he is going to die of grief. In John 11:33, he is “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled”; language that describes indignation and moral outrage (in the face of Satan’s murderous ways that brought death to his friend; John 8:44), mixed with profound bone-aching sadness. The words used in these texts sometimes speak of a sobbing and throbbing sorrow, the sobbing lament of a heart throbbing with weariness, sadness, and indignation.

Jesus felt sorrows so deeply that they produced exhausted sighs, longings for it all to be over, sobbing tears, and profound ministry and life fatigue. And if Jesus felt and expressed all of this, so may we. We may sigh and groan when we feel:

  • The delay or denial of justice.
  • The sword-thrust of racism.
  • The calamity of a pandemic.
  • The ravages of a virus.
  • The death of a loved one.
  • The loss of a job or business.
  • The wrath of a spouse.
  • The end of a marriage.
  • The wandering of a child.
  • The perversions of the powerful.
  • The slander of an enemy.
  • The mockery of our faith.
  • The brazenness of the ungodly.
  • The weakness of the flesh.
  • The abandonment of a parent.
  • The loneliness of rejection.
  • The bondage of addiction.
  • The dark night of depression.

Friend: for all of these reasons and more, it’s okay to be tired and too long for heaven. You don’t have to be always happy and peppy, always smiling, always strong, always the one with the bouncing happy feet. This is not to endorse despair or pessimism or glass half empty negativism—for Jesus always kept his hope and joy. But it is to say that often, his joy was mingled with sighs and tears. He was a “man of sorrows,” very much “acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3).

As Paul puts it in describing his own emotional life, we are, and we are permitted to be in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 6:9, 10:

Afflicted in every way, but not crushed.

Perplexed, but not driven to despair.

Persecuted, but not forsaken.

Struck down, but not destroyed.

As dying, yet we live.

Carrying death in our bodies, but life in our souls.

Sorrowful, but always rejoicing.

Poor, yet making many rich.

Having nothing; yet possessing everything.

Such was the emotional life of Jesus and his apostles. And it is the emotional life of all who love Jesus and live between two worlds; the broken world that now is, and the coming world where everything will be made new. Let us feel free to cry, to long, to sigh, to be confused, to mourn, and to groan. But let us never forget that before too long, morning will break over a whole new eternal Day.

Related Posts

The God Who Sees and Knows Everything

The God Who Sees and Knows Everything

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Does God Really See Everything?” What You'll Hear on this Episode Selecting from Jesse’s Sons. Like David, Like Jesus. Subscribing, sharing, and your feedback You can subscribe to the Servants of Grace Podcast...

How to Be a Godly Man

How to Be a Godly Man

On today’s For Life and Godliness, Drew considers how the man of God is concerned with the business of God and looks at 1 Timothy and Titus 1 to describe what the man of Good looks like and is concerned about. What You'll Hear On This Episode The man of God is...

Why Christians Should Speak Out Against False Teaching

Why Christians Should Speak Out Against False Teaching

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers current statistics on biblical worldview and illiteracy, correcting opponents of the faith with gentleness, and why loving the Lord and others should lead to speaking out against false teaching. What you'll hear...

The 5 Masculine Instincts by Chase Replogle

The 5 Masculine Instincts by Chase Replogle

When I was engaged, I hunted for all the advice I could get about being a good husband. Most of those conversations focused on leading family devotions, getting a good job so I can provide financially, and taking care of issues around the house - even though my skill...

Conclusion to the Dangers to Intimacy with God Series

Conclusion to the Dangers to Intimacy with God Series

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave concludes the Dangers to Intimacy series by considering why we are to focus on the gospel, love our spouse because of Christ, grow in friendship with our spouse, serve your spouse, and fight sexual sin and all sex with the...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.