“And the Pharisees came forth and began to question Him, seeking a sign from Heaven, tempting Him.  And he sighed deeply in His Spirit. . .”

Mark 8:11-12a

We should never wonder if He understands how we feel or what we’re going through.

“And He sighed deeply in His Spirit.”

The Greek word “anastenazo” is used here for “sighed deeply” and comes from “stenazo,” which means “to be in straits, groan, be filled with grief, etc.”  And, when we realize that root word comes from a deeper root word “stenos” and means “a narrowing, hemming in, constricting of, etc.,” we realize it’s that deep, baffled sigh of emotion that arises from the depth of our being.

Believe it or not, it’s the same word and meaning that’s used in Rom. 8:26 where it talks of the Holy Spirit assisting us in prayer “with groaning which cannot be uttered or put into words.”  Thus, it’s the picture of one agonizing over something.  In the case of our Manna He was grieving over the Pharisees’ critical attitudes and constant attacking.  It was a “vexation of spirit,” if you will, that basically said “What can change their hearts?”  And, sadly, in their case—and in many folks’ lives today—the answer is “Nothing” apart from broken-hearted repentance.

There was another time Jesus “groaned in His Spirit”—during the time He drew near to Mary and Martha’s house on His way to raise Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:33, 38).  But, this time the Greek word “embrimaomai” is used for “groaned” and basically means “to snort with anger, great indignation, to sigh with chagrin, etc.”  Thus, it’s the picture of exasperation, not empathy, and was brought on primarily because of Mary, Martha and the mourners’ unbelief (vv.20-32, 36-38).

No wonder He “was troubled (Grk. ‘tarasso’—‘to stir or agitate as rolling water, etc.’) and wept” (vv.33b, 35).  Their unbelief was tearing His heart out—even as it does today.  That’s why we should do all we can to lessen His “groaning, sighing and weeping” by doing all we can to cause Him delight.  And, we do that by “loving others as He has loved us” (Jn. 15:12) and willingly surrendering to Him in all we say and do.

How we should give thanks that it’s “by His Mercies that we’re not consumed and His compassions fail not and are new every morning because of His great faithfulness” (Lam. 3:21-23).  Truly, He was/is a “Man of sorrows, well-acquainted with our grief” (Is. 53:3b) and “was tempted in every way as we, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:14-16).

Oh Pilgrim, how long has it been since you stopped and gave thanks to the Lord Jesus for all He’s done for you?  Why not pause even now and do so?  Then, spend the rest of the day reflecting on His goodness to you, asking Him to help you to help Him sing, not sigh, today.  Amen and amen.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 28, 2009

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