Our reading today in the Fresh Eyes project is Mark 7-9. The focus text for today’s Fresh Bread devotional is Mark 7:34, an excerpt from the account of Jesus’ healing of a man who was deaf and who had a “twisted tongue.”
“Looking into heaven, Jesus sighed deeply …” (Mark 7:34)
Throughout Mark’s Gospel we’re given glimpses of Jesus’ emotions, but perhaps this instance conveys more than any other. In a word, Jesus “sighed.”
He sighed the same way we groan with longing to be free of this world and fully with our Father (Rom. 8:23; 2 Cor. 5:2,4). The way we sigh over our relationships and responsibilities with others (Heb. 13:17; James 5:9) is the way Jesus felt burdened and weighed down in spirit.
We needed to hear that. We still need to hear Jesus sigh. For it tells us the Son of God became the Human One. It says he knows, from being God and from being human, exactly what our experience is like here. It tells us Jesus cares about us and our situation, and then proceeds to become involved. It says to us there is a healthy way to sigh (“looking up to heaven”) and a way not so good (looking down in faithlessness and despair). It tells us sometimes the most meaningful of prayers are those offered up without words.
“Jesus sighed deeply.” And we should thank God he did.
Thank you, Holy Father, for bending down to bear our burdens with us. Thank you, Jesus, for groaning with us in the things that grip our lives. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for bringing health to our spirit by bringing us this word. Hear our daily, feeble words and sighs with love, we pray. Amen.
… the cross is the ground of our justification. … the cross is the means of our sanctification. … the cross is the subject of our witness. … [and] the cross is the object of our boasting. God forbid that we should boast in anything else. (John Stott, The Cross of Christ, pp.350-351)