Text: John 11:33-35
You have been suppressing such emotions and pressures for many of you working because of your boss and immediate heads. I know that Filipinos are resilient yet bad at handling emotions. For our Nexus, the youth will be starting their classes next month, and many emotions are happening inside them: excitement, anxiety, indifference, fear, joy, and even melancholy. What should we do about our feelings and emotions? I say the best model for us Christians is Christ. Today’s sermon is about the emotional life of Christ.
The full humanity of Christ. Luke 2:39–40 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. He even got hungry during his 40 days of fasting, wherein the devil tempted him to turn the rock into bread (Mt. 4:4). Also, he was thirsty during his journey to the cross, and when he was crucified; he said, “I thirst” (Jn 19:28).
Main Idea: The Emotions of Christ in John 11:33-35
Let us go back to our central passage in John 11:33-35. I have chosen this passage because it encapsulates three major emotions all human beings experience. These are 1) compassion or mercy, 2) anger, and 3) grief, including sorrow.
The term [embrimaomai] (33, 38) means deeply moved because of the death of his dear friend Lazarus. In verse 35, he joins his friends’ grief and sadness with heartfelt sorrow. More than sadness, it was mixed with anger because of the evil of death—the ultimate enemy of humanity. Adding to this righteous anger is a disappointment because of the loss of trust of his people, friends like Martha, and others there. Hovering all these emotions is love. Let us explore more of these three primary emotions found in our passage to understand more about Christ’s emotional life. For what purpose, you ask? To conform to his likeness (1 Jn 2:6).
Compassion and Mercy – Healing two blind men (Mt 20:30-34) leper cleansed (Mk 1:40-41) “moved with pity” [splanchnizo]; distressed widow (Lk 7:12-13) “he had compassion on her” – a literal translation of feeling something within you, somewhere in your stomach or guts. The peak of his compassionate heart is when he descended to the world and entered history from eternity for us to be redeemed from the bondage of our sins. Christ can forgive all kinds of sins.
Righteous Anger – He flipped the tables out of anger in the temple. Why? It was because of the nature of the temple. “This was the house of God, the one place where sinners could come and offer sacrifices and enjoy fellowship with God, reassurance of his favor and grace,” Dane Ortlund noted. (Angry in front of the Temple – John 2:13-22) He was angry with the Scribes and Pharisees – Matthew 23; Mark 3:5 – “hypocrites, serpents brood of vipers, blind fools.”
It is okay to get angry but do not sin. Psalm 4:4, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent. Selah.” Likewise, it is stated in Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.” Be aware of your anger. Respond righteously.
Grief and Sorrow – Other than Christ crying out loud when Lazarus died in John 11:43, with all the realization that he is the Messiah, he is expected to bear such sorrow. Isaiah 53:4, “Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
Before his crucifixion and suffering, he had already expressed too much pain and sorrow when he prayed to the Father. He prayed three times repeatedly to the Father. Matthew 26:38 “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’” Then he prayed. At the third time in Luke 22:44, “And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Christ experienced genuine emotions. He is truly a human being capable of having feelings and emotions.
- Trust Jesus with your emotions.
- Conform to his model in handling his emotions.
- Be honest. Do not ignore and suppress your emotions.
- Do not sin.
- Pray with him.
Are you angry today? Take a break and trust God’s righteous anger. Are you anxious and feeling distressed? Jesus is sad and distressed alongside you. Trust Jesus: he knows our emotions well. He sympathizes (Heb 4:15, “15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
In that knowledge, release the burden of your offender and breathe again. They do not deserve the gift of your emotions. Rest in Christ. Again, trust Jesus. Dane Ortlund said, “Let Christ’s heart for you not only wash you in his compassion but also assure you of his solidarity in rage against all that distresses you.”
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
August 28, 2022