The Old Testament uses anthropopathism, attributing human feelings to God, in order “to declare that God is personal and that He responds to the actions of His creatures.”* When Jesus came into the world, however, he felt true human emotions:
Sighing deeply in his spirit he said, “Why does this generation look for a sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Mark 8:12 NET
Mark, especially, shows an interest in the Master’s emotions. He feels anger (3:5), amazement (6:6), compassion (?) (7:34), love (10:21, though one might consider the love here as a decision rather than emotion), and here in our text, sadness and frustration because of the obtuseness of the religious authorities.
The Lord Jesus had performed many miraculous signs, but not in a way to satisfy the Pharisees. Their materialism and politicized messianic expectation kept them from seeing in Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.
But let’s bring Jesus’ emotion down to today. At my reaction to the gospel, what emotion does he feel? Does he feel frustrated by my spiritual sloth, my lack of understanding the marvels of the Kingdom, my passivity before the call to follow the Lord?
Father, may Jesus feel happy with my obedience and not sadness at my rebellion, for I want to please him in all things. Amen.
*R.F. Youngblood, ed., Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nelson, 1995): 79.