I don’t have much insightful to say about Mark Chapter 8. But there is some funny stuff in here. Jesus has just done another big feeding, 4000 this time. He’s been healing people all over the place. And yet…
The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
~ Mark 8:11-13
“They asked him for a sign…”
I’m sorry, did these folks need Ace of Base to lay down some dance-pop beats for them to get it? What exactly do they think Jesus has been doing? Party tricks?
If I ever write my own version of the Bible, “Jesus sighed” will be its own standalone verse, just like “Jesus wept.” Seriously, people should quote it more. It’s pretty much how he lived his earthy ministry, when he wasn’t healing and preaching and such.
He sighed deeply…
Later on in the boat, he has comical misunderstanding #8479 with his disciples. He’s talking about “the yeast of the Pharisees,” and they’re all “dang it, Peter! Jesus is mad at us now because you forgot to bring bread!”
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
~Mark 8: 17-21
“Sighing Jesus” is just about my favorite Jesus. This is no doubt because sighing is my personal communication style. It’s practically my love language.
A sigh can mean so many things.
Exasperation. Frustration. Annoyance.
Relief. Release. Satisfaction.
A sigh can mean everything, or nothing at all. Sometimes it’s just a pause that says, hold on, world, I need a second.
We talk a lot about the Incarnation, and what that means. That Jesus suffered everything we suffered. That he walked in our shoes. That he experienced our heartbreak. And it all sounds so weighty sometimes.
But here’s what else the Incarnation means: it means that Jesus sighed.
He had trouble making people understand what seemed so painfully obvious to him. Just like you do with your significant other or your coworker or your kids or your parents. And he thought how are they not getting this???
And I’m sure he had more than one moment, like after a midnight talk with Nicodemus, when he waited for the lightbulb (oil lamp?) to come on, as he spent hour after hour explaining the same thing over and over, but they kept missing the point, and was it intentional? But he kept trying, and trying, because this was important. And then that person finally got it. And Jesus smiled, and let out a hushed yesss, finally. Just like you do with that same significant other or coworker or child or parent.
And then there were those other moments, after a long walk on a dusty road, when his feet were sore and his muscles ached, and he sat down heavily and enjoyed a cool drink as he melted into relief. Ahhhhhhhh. Just like you do after a hard day’s work.
It’s not just the big stuff that Jesus walked through. He sweated the small stuff too. And he sighed.
So if today is a sighing day for you, try to find comfort in that.