Pentecost 15 – St. Mark 7:31-37
Jesus human nature never ceases to amaze.
Of course, it really should not amaze us at all; after all, Jesus human nature is where He is just like you and I. It makes perfect sense that Jesus would get hungry or tired; it makes sense that Jesus would cry or become angry; it is only logical that Jesus would become frustrated with the disciples and with those around Him; because that is after all what you and I do on a daily basis.
And yet, it is still amazing that the Son of God, the one who came from heaven above to earth below should act just as you or I would.
And so today, we are amazed once more at the human nature of Jesus, because He sighs.
How is that for a reaction from Jesus? He sighs.
You are no doubt very familiar with this reaction; how many sighs do you let out during the course of the day?
Now granted you most certainly can sigh in joy, or sigh in contentment, but that is by no means the majority of your sighs, is it?
No the majority of your sighs are made in outright frustration and anger; your sighs are the result not of a blessing from the Lord, but undoubtedly another curse from the devil.
How many sighs have you let out as you stare at the credit card bill and wonder how you spent so much money?
How many sighs are let out when you look at your family members, and you ask yourself how you came to be related?
How many sighs are released at the end of a day, where you seemingly never got ahead, and ended the day in worse shape than when you started?
How many sighs are given, when you turn on the news and look at the mess in the world, and you ask yourself why Jesus does not come and take us to be with Him?
How many sighs are released, when you realize that you are a poor miserable sinner, who repeatedly returns to the same sins over and over, despite promising again and again to avoid them?
Sighs are most often an expression of frustration, an expression of despair, an expression of looking at everything around you and wondering how you got yourself into this mess?
And when you look at Jesus, and you take into account His human nature, and you read in our text that He sighs, you can only assume that this is one of those situations where He, just like you, is ready to throw in the towel and walk away from it all and let someone else handle it.
And there is good reason for that assumption.
Look at the man who now sits before Jesus: he is both deaf and suffering from a speech impediment. This is a most glaring example of sin in the world; that this man should suffer not one affliction, but two. Both of these curses, most likely from birth, have left this man to be totally dependent upon others, even needing them to literally bring him to Jesus.
Looking at what sin has done to this beloved child of the heavenly Father, knowing that this man has been suffering his whole life in such a way, one cannot blame Jesus for sighing upon seeing this man.
But that is not the only cause for sighing.
The crowds bring this man with good intentions. They want this man, their friend, their brother, their neighbor to be healed. They want this Jesus who is able to do great wonders, to do one more for this man. Yet, this crowd is made up of the same people who only want to see Jesus do signs and wonders, and are not that concerned with the words of eternal life that He also offers to them. This crowd, great as it may be, is largely built not on faith, but on the hope that they will see Jesus do something amazing.
It is no wonder that Jesus sighs.
But there is still more. This crowd includes not just the local population, but the disciples of Jesus. One of whom will betray Jesus; another who will deny Jesus; others who will run away at the sight of danger. Those who should have known better; those who should have been able to stand up and speak well of Jesus, are often no better than those who bring this man to be healed.
Who wouldn’t sigh in such a situation?
But there is more.
There is also you.
Jesus looks at you, and sees not one who will cling to His word, and pray, praise and give thanks; He does not see one who will cherish His gifts and hold them sacred; He sees not a people who will strive to do His will; rather He sees a people that look at the world, and sigh and walk away from a neighbor who is in need.
And so Jesus sighs.
And upon sighing, what is the next reaction?
Well for most of us, a sigh is followed by throwing up our hands and walking away. A sigh is followed by a barrage of complaints and accusations and condemnations. A sigh is followed by a roll of the eyes, and a determination that there is nothing more that can be done, so the best thing for you is to walk away.
That is the sinful human nature. A sigh is the last gasp before giving up and casting judgment on those who remain.
And that is where the human nature of Jesus truly amazes you and I, for it is not sinful, rather it is perfect, and holy, and good.
Today, Jesus sighs, but He does not walk away; instead He heals this man, and grants him a new life: his ears are opened and his tongue is released. Jesus undoes the curse of sin that haunted this man for so many years. He can both hear and speak praises unto the Christ who has made him well
But this is not the last sigh of Jesus.
On Good Friday, hanging on a wooden cross, Jesus sighs again, and He hangs His head, and He gives up His Spirit, and He dies.
Jesus did not turn away from the sin of the world, or the cross that lay before Him. Jesus sighed, and endure the suffering and shame, and pain and agony, and even death of the cross, to redeem not just one man, but the whole world, and not just the whole world, but you as well, from the eternal curse of sin and death.
Your sin of sighing in disgust, of sighing in anger, of sighing in frustration, of sighing in despair; and all that follows that sigh, the words, the thoughts, the actions; are forgiven by the one who sighed on the cross for you.
Jesus sighed, so that your ears might be unstopped from the lies of Satan, and that your tongue might be untied from the sighs of despair and be free to tell the story and sing the praises of the Lamb who was slain, who now reigns on high.
Jesus sighed, for He knew that He would suffer death and rise again for the sins of the world. Jesus sighed, so that you might live. Jesus sighed, so that your sins might be taken away and so that you could be presented before your Father in heaven, holy and righteous, so that you might be with Him in glory everlasting.
Jesus sighed on earth, so that your Father in heaven might look upon you, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and sigh in love.
Jesus human nature never ceases to amaze us; but what is even more amazing, is not that Jesus sighed, but that out of His great love for us, Jesus took on our form, and lived a perfect life, so that we might live eternally.