Weekend Meditation: The Emotional God

Read: John 11-12

When Jesus saw Mary weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” (John 11:33-36, NLT)

Jesus felt things very deeply—and I am so glad he did.

Jesus was fully human, yet fully God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. His whole incarnational purpose was to live among us (John 1:15) in order to bring God close us (Isaiah 7:14), reveal who God is and what God is like to us (Colossians 1:15,19-20), and through his redeeming sacrifice bring us back into a right relationship with our  Creator and Father (Colossians 1:21-22).

In coming to earth to fulfill that mission of revelation and redemption, we do not find in Jesus an uncaring, distant, emotionless Deity, we find one who knew full well what it was like to be one of us. Therefore, he was the perfect bridge between the Divine and the fallen. In his earthly journey, God the Son experienced—and expressed—a wide range of emotions that were uniquely human. Just in John 11 and 12 alone, we see several occasions where humanity “leaked” from Deity:

He got angry and upset: “When Jesus saw Mary weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.” (John 11:33, NLT)

He expressed unmitigated grief and the unstoppable flow of tears: “Then Jesus wept.” (John 11:35, NLT)

He refused to be pacified when an issue was unresolved:  “Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. ‘Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.’” (John 11:38, NLT)

He got fed up with an insincere disciple:  “Jesus replied, ‘Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.’” (John 12:7, NLT)

He felt unsettling concern over the future: “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!” (John 12:27, NLT)

In several different Gospel accounts, we discover Jesus expressing other quite human emotions:

He was frustrated with his disciples’ thick-headedness: “Jesus asked them, ‘Are you still so dull?’” (Matthew 15:16, NLT)

He was overcome by the weight of responsibility: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Mark 14:34, NLT)

He felt irrepressible joy: “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.’” Luke 10:21, NLT)

Jesus, the perfect God-man, was able to feel things uniquely human: Sorrow, anger, frustration, spiritual exhaustion, and a tremendous capacity for joy.  But are those emotions uniquely human?  No, in truth, they are completely Divine. These feelings are not of just human origin; rather, they are feelings that originate within the very being of a feeling God, who has simply placed them within the genetic code of that part of his creation he holds most dear, human beings, which includes you and me.

The fact that you and I feel simply reminds us that our Creator feels.  What that means, among other things, is that we belong to a caring, compassionate God.  God the Father feels—he even dances over you with delight (Zephaniah 3:17); God the Son definitely feels, as we have just seen; God the Holy Spirit feels—he can be grieved and pleased (Ephesians 4:30, Galatians 6:8). That is good news, because it gives him an unfettered capacity to relate to our feelings and us great confidence to come before a caring, understanding God to express our deepest feelings. Hebrews 4:15-16 says,

“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. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Yes, God feels. Jesus clearly demonstrated that.  So come confidently to a caring God to pour out your deepest, most inmost feelings.  His great promise is that you can exchange your feelings for his mercy, your emotions for his grace, your tears for his comfort, your fears for his strength and anything else you are carrying, good or bad, you can turn over to a Father who can definitely relate.

Now that is something you can feel really good about!

“Spiritual experience by definition is an internal awareness that involves strong emotion in response to the truth of God’s Word, amplified by the Holy Spirit and applied by Him to us personally.” ~John MacArthur

What If God Took Over?

This present moment might be a good time to take God up on the incredible offer he made to you in Hebrews 4:16!

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