...so says the Bible in Mark 8:12a. Jesus is said to have sighed deeply (NIV). The American standard version says, “...He sighed deeply in His spirit.”
You know the feeling don’t you? There are times when all you can do is sigh. You have to breathe out so that you can breathe in that next breath. You have to sigh in order to give yourself the chance to collect yourself and process your thoughts, emotions, and potential reaction. A sigh is a spontaneous thing, isn’t it? One doesn’t plan a sigh, it just comes over you and you simply must do it.
Generally speaking, our sighs don’t originate from the same cause as His. What was the cause of His deep spirit-sigh? Jesus is approached by the Pharisees (those “religious” nut-jobs), who come, not for spiritual instruction or guidance, but in order to test Him.
They ask Him for a sign from heaven. At that point, Jesus sighs deeply in His spirit. Why? Wasn’t Jesus okay with performing signs? Didn’t He understand the signs to have evidential value? Doesn’t the Bible say clearly that signs were performed by Jesus and recorded for future generations in order that people might believe in Jesus and through that belief come to everlasting life (John20:30f)?
Yes...the miracles were performed by Jesus in order to show that He was no ordinary human teacher, but, rather, had been sent from heaven as God’s Son. But, so often, the people who witnessed the signs stopped short in their understanding of the significance of them.
They were content to be on the receiving end of a healing or a feeding or, perhaps, something on the order of entertainment. But they missed the spiritual significance. And they were without excuse for missing the spiritual truth. The fact is, many of them didn’t want the spiritual healing Jesus came to offer them.
So here come the Pharisees asking for a sign. But Jesus has already given countless signs from heaven of exactly Who He really was. But they’ve got to have one more. Jesus knew that one more wouldn’t help them, because they had no intention of becoming His disciples.
So Jesus sighs when they parrot their empty request. I might have expected Him to react otherwise. Wouldn’t He have been justified to bring down some form of judgment upon them? I mean, it had to be so very frustrating for Him, didn’t it?
It’s pretty easy for me to see the faults of those Pharisees, but what about my own faults? I understand, a bit, why Jesus sighs over these hypocrites. But think about this...what behaviors of mine are causing Jesus to sigh deeply in His wonderful spirit these days? Jesus has proven Himself to me over and over and over again.
Why then does it only take one bit of bad news to set me to doubting Him? A rise in the price of gasoline...concern over the economy...rising prices of food or health care...too much rain or too little...can set me back on my heels and get me upset and worried over how I am going to get along in these uncertain times.
The truth is...the times are usually uncertain, but our Lord is dependable. Pay attention to the signs He has already given. May He smile, not sigh, over us. Trust Him!
Written by Doug Oakes, minister, Woodlawn Church of Christ, Zanesville; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.