By Not Known
We sometimes make a virtue of being passionless. Thus we respond to suffering with a (non-Christian) stoical ‘stiff upper lip’ instead of a tear. And permit ourselves just a passing smile at joy.
This is not the heart of Jesus or of his Father. The Gospels show the passion of Jesus in abundance. Consider these examples:
- Compassion for crowds without a spiritual shepherd (Matt 9:36)
- Compassion for sick people needing healing (Matt 14:14; 20:34)
- Compassion for the hungry (Matt 15:32)
- Weeping for lost Jerusalem (Luke 19:31)
The word used for ‘compassion’ is a word for a strong inward emotion. Notice also the occasions of Jesus’ compassion and weeping: both physical and spiritual needs draw his heart.
One of Jesus’ most passionate scenes involved death (Jn 11:1-44). Jesus’ friend Lazarus died. That left Jesus’ friends Mary and Martha in tears. Jesus’ deed matched their need and he restored Lazarus. But he also met their tears, heart to heart.
Just look at Jesus’ heart here:
- Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters (v3,5)
- Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled (v33)
- Jesus wept (v35)
- Jesus was once more deeply moved (v38)
This is no surprise when we look back to the big passion of God against evil and for righteousness and his big compassion for lost humanity.
God’s people are meant to copy God’s passions and compassions. Thus we should mourn with the mourning and rejoice with the rejoicing (Rom 12:15). This may challenge us when personality and cultural factors combine to make us a reserved people who keep our passions private.
Let’s not fear being a passionate people or become emotional robots. Let us have hearts that love what God loves and hate what God hates rather than hearts of stone.