Jesus the Exasperated

Okay, I’m reading between the lines here. (At least I try to admit it when I do.)

Because you won’t find in most versions of the Bible a phrase that specifically describes Jesus as exasperated. Mark, however, twice records Jesus doing something that other gospel writers do not:

He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!” ). – Mark 7:34

He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” – Mark 8:12

I don’t know about you, but I have been known to sigh when exasperated. When I exptected more, or better, or smarter. I’ve sighed for other reasons, too. But in the context of these verses, Jesus sounds exasperated to me.

He used other expressions that support my suspicion. “You of little faith,” He addressed Peter, who had failed to walk on water. As well as all of the chosen, when a storm nearly swamped their boat … and when they didn’t understand His warning about the leaven of the Pharisees. He also upbraided a whole group of followers who heard him describe how God clothes the field with lilies. That conversation began when someone tried to get Jesus to arbitrate an inheritance disagreement, and Jesus responded: “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”

Then there’s the time early in His ministry, John records, that He evicted animal merchants and money changers from the temple courts, telling them, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” Perhaps the incident presages His return some years later to do the same thing, and add: “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”

And He went so far as to call some folks “snakes” and “vipers,” and called Peter “Satan” once. That had to hurt.

It all sounds pretty exasperated to me.

You can probably think of more explicit examples.

“In your anger, do not sin,” advises Psalm 4:4. But being angry itself, or even just exasperated, is no sin.

It is human.

So was Jesus.

The pattern I suspect, though, is that most of us humans get ticked off about relatively small things.

As I recall the situations that seemed to exasperate Jesus, they were when other folks couldn’t see the big picture because of their focus on the microscopic. When they couldn’t see the eternal beyond the transient.

A sign or miracle that would only last as long as memory and life. A storm that would pass. A chance to make a few bucks from an inheritance, or from a temple worshiper who didn’t have the right kind of money or the right kind of animal to sacrifice. A fascination with this temporal life, with no hope nor faith for a life that cannot end.

Am I reading between the lines?

Or do the lines converge on Jesus’ point each time – putting everything into perspective?

2 thoughts on “Jesus the Exasperated

  1. I like this…for several reasons. Interesting to think that the very things that exasperated Jesus were <>exactly the opposite<> of the things that we allow to exasperate us today. And I love thinking of the humanity of Jesus, our High Priest who can sympathize–Hebrews is my favorite book of the Bible, btw. On a side note, as I was getting ready to comment, I was going to thank you for this “Jesus” series, and ask you if you were going to continue along these lines for awhile. <>Then<> I saw your newly-posted resolve to blog only about Christ for awhile! I check your page (and others) several times a day…right now it is Friday at 7:30 p.m. I have no idea how long your resolve has been up there and I just now noticed it. I should be more observant. It’s probably been there since you started the “Jesus” series. Sometimes, I’m just not with it. 🙂 Oh well. Much love–mmlace

  2. Nicely done. I have taught on the subject to mixed reviews. Some folks have trouble understanding the humanity of Jesus as truly… human. Saying Jesus was exasperated or frustrated with us is more than they can bring themselve to see. P.S. Liked your profile, nice to see someone else who can appreciate what it means to be a ki-nigh-it in shining armor!

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