The Emotional Jesus
Emotions reveal our true character.
In this story, we see Jesus reveal His true human character. How Jesus reacts to human situations reveals how much He cares for us. In this case, Jesus revealed four different emotions.
The context was the death of a friend – Lazarus. Jesus was coming to town and He decided to wait. Because He waited, Lazarus died. We don’t know why Lazarus died, but we do know that the death affected Jesus deeply. He expresses the following emotions:
Twice He expresses indignation – a form of anger at the injustice of a situation. In this case, Jesus was angry at the unfairness of the death of Lazarus.
“When Jesus saw her crying, and the Jews who had come with her crying, He was angry in His spirit and deeply moved.” (John 11:33, HCSB)
Later, He expresses the same emotion:
“Then Jesus, angry in Himself again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.” (John 11:38, HCSB)
Both times He expresses this anger, it is in response to a question. Here are both questions:
“When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and told Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!”” (John 11:32, HCSB)
“But some of them said, “Couldn’t He who opened the blind man’s eyes also have kept this man from dying?”” (John 11:37, HCSB)
Both questions reveal the frustrations that we as humans have when we trust Jesus. The power of Jesus should be able to do the miraculous. Yet, we think it seems unfair that Jesus can’t do what He has done in the past. Today, that attitude may be one of skepticism. However, here, it is one of frustration. Jesus connects with that frustration. He understands how we feel about this kind of injustice. We say things like this:“Why couldn’t God save my child?”
“Why does God let the bad go unpunished, but the good get into trouble?”
“Why won’t God just do something here.”
The first emotion of indignation led to the next emotion in this passage – the shortest statement in the Bible:
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35, HCSB)
Those two words reveal the power that emotions had in affecting Jesus. Jesus was deeply moved by the death of Lazarus. He did not wail like the mourners. This is a silent weeping. He was internally saddened by the death and by the fact that it was unfair.
“After He said this, He shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”” (John 11:43, HCSB)
I believe that this last statement before Lazarus came out of the grave was full of emotion. Jesus shouted these words, full of sympathy, full of power, full of love. We know this because other people saw this love-filled emotion and spoke about Jesus having this loving emotion:
“So the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”” (John 11:36, HCSB)
The people around Him could see how the death of Lazarus moved Him. The people around Him could sense how hurt He was at the unfairness of it all. The people recognized that Jesus felt love for this special family. The people saw this love when Jesus shouted out for Lazarus to come out of the grave.
Emotions never overpowered Jesus and His mission – they amplified it. Emotions revealed the character of Jesus, and they will reveal your character as well.