Grieving Jesus

Have you ever stopped to think about the wide array of emotions Jesus experienced as He went through His life?

Even though he was fully God, he was also fully man and experienced life here on earth just as we do.

The Bible says in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

This blog post is not intended to be a full study into the emotions of Jesus…but rather a reflection on something that caught my attention in my own personal Bible study time. 

When we read about the earthly life of Jesus and look at His emotions and his responses, there are some things that are plainly stated for us and some that are “gathered” from context and our own experiences.

Throughout His life and ministry, He was spoken ill of, made fun of, mocked, honored, despised, lost family members, lost friends, rejected, betrayed, called a liar, praised as a king, worshiped, loved, beaten, killed, and even revealed as God (as we see in the transfiguration on the mountain).  Jesus had tremendous victories and devastating losses. 

I mean, if a life like that doesn’t cause an emotional roller coaster, I don’t know what does! 

But through all of that, we see one consistency in how He responded to these kinds of trials, temptations, and emotions: He sought time alone with the Father. 

All throughout the gospels, we see Jesus retreating to remote places to be alone with the Father. What is also interesting is that these times of prayer and fellowship with the Father are not just reactionary to the struggles of the day;no, there was a constancy in his meetings with the Father regardless of the highs and lows of the day. 

So often we only retreat to the Father when we’ve had a bad day, have a difficult decision to make, or have an issue we are dealing with. Then when things get better we tend to ease up on the intensity with which we seek the Father. 

But it was because of Jesus’ proactive fellowship with the Father that He was able to withstand the emotional highs and lows that life brought his way. 

The scripture I read this week that gave me pause to stop and think about this was in Matthew 14, the story of John the Baptist’s death by beheading at the request of a teenage dancer. 

We see in the scripture that as soon as Jesus was told that John was dead, He withdrew to a solitary place.

John and Jesus were not only cousins, but also fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and friends. John was the prophet who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. The Bible says that of all men born of man, that no one is greater than John the Baptist. Such a powerful man of God and integral figure in God’s plan of salvation for all mankind but killed so abruptly because of someone else’s sin.

You can imagine that when Jesus received the news about John, He had a flood of emotions. Wouldn’t you? Pain, hurt, anger, sorrow, etc. 

The thing about Jesus though, the thing that I don’t think we even have the capacity to fully comprehend is that on top of all of the normal, typical emotions that would be present in this kind of scenario, Jesus, being God, knew that it wasn’t supposed to be this way. 

God created a perfect world where this kind of hurt, pain, evil didn’t exist. It was man and man’s sin that brought this hurt, pain, and evil into the world.

When Jesus came from the perfection of heaven to the pain of earth, he not only experienced it from our side, but he also experienced the pain of what had been lost….something we can’t fully comprehend this side of heaven. 

All throughout Jesus’ life on earth, he saw what was, what is, and what could/will be. He loves us and has compassion on us because, as we see in Matthew 9:36, he sees us as lost and helpless, a people living in a broken system, a broken world, and yet there is hope! 

Jesus voluntarily died that we might have hope. When Jesus heard about John’s death, He mourned, He grieved, but He also kept going because He knew that it was not the end. Not only did He still have more to do on earth but He knew that in the end when everything is over, all wrongs will be made right and we will once again be in that place of perfection. 

What if we looked at life events and our emotions in this light? Jesus said, “Yes, you will have pain in this world, but I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Jesus dealt with many different emotions and yet did not allow it to define who he was or how he responded. 

I encourage each one of us, myself included, to let that be an example we follow.