The Sigh of Jesus
“He sighed.”—S. Mark vii. 34.
Picture: Jesus Christ in a Gentile district, sighing over this man whose ailment was typical.
Resolve: to share with him this sigh of being in an alien land.
- —He sighed.
- He never lost the power of sympathy through familiarity with physical suffering. He entered into it, bore its sadness, relieved it where he could. It is indifference which deadens the heart to the pathos of familiar sights.
- He sighed now over a sick case which was typical of the spiritual state of the district: they had charity to bring this man to him to be healed, but were unconscious of the spiritual healing which they needed from him.
Decapolis lay near to Judaea, but felt no need of its religion. Nothing about the world is sadder than its vicinity to the Church, and its natural kindness, together with its ignorance of its real needs.
- He sighed too as he foresaw the crowds which would gather from the disregard of his order of silence (vers. 36, 37; S. Matt. xv. 30, 31). Yet he submitted himself into their hands, healed their sick, preached to the crowds, fed four thousand of them. How contrary to this is the spirit of many of his servants, who are offended because the world is not conscious of thirsting for the sacraments! Should we not rather share his sigh, and then do what we can?
- —He sighed for the man himself.
- His sickness was typical of his spiritual condition: deaf to the voice of God, stammering in speech to him. The impediment in the world’s speech with God is unrecognized and so unconfessed sin. It has not heard the voice of God walking in the garden of life, saying, “Where art thou?”
- He sighed over the coming disregard of his commands. He put a charge of silence on him for his own good, lest the fruits of his healing should be dissipated before they produced eternal benefits. Here too the man is typical of the modern Decapolis, whick looks for revival excitements and religious advertisement, rather than for the deep things of God.
- There was no impatience in the sigh. The man disobeyed, but his diseases did not return to him. The life-long deafness and impediment may be cured, and the man who has found healing in him may yet be very inattentive to his words. Surely the sigh says much to us of God’s patience with ourselves, who often come rather to be healed of the diseases which trouble us than to do his will.
- —He sighs.
- The incarnate God by a human sigh can express to us the mind of God. Study to see the revelation of God in human expression: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Not only for the world but for the Church also must God, in the language of our meditation, sigh.
- There is often a weight of depression over his disciples from the sense of impotence. He sighs with us in this, in sympathy with our depression who live in Decapolis; for us also, because we so often bear our depression alone, and forget his sigh. For us, too, because, conscious of our impotence, we do not remember his power. His Church, which “with Babylon must cope,” also sighs: she must represent his mind.
- Let it be an ambition of Christian life to have fellowship with him in his sigh; to be unselfish, to have the mind of Christ. How can we be indifferent to the joys which the world is just missing? or to the contentment with which many Christians rest in their first healing? or to being ourselves strangers to the experiences of the sacred Heart?