Did you know that—according to the Bible—Jesus displayed many different emotions during His time on earth? This is significant because it reminds us that Jesus is not only completely God but completely man. He is God the Son who entered into this world as a man so that He would redeem mankind to God. In our sermon today, we notice three emotions (Glad, Sad, and Mad) Jesus displayed and why we must display them as He did.
Glad: A Time of Joy
First, let us consider joy. Biblically speaking, joy is a powerful feeling of delight that is rooted understanding and receiving God’s grace. In other words, true joy is based on knowing God’s grace and not on your circumstances.
Our Joy. We are called to rejoice like Jesus. What does it mean to rejoice like Jesus? Notice that we are speaking of joy and not happiness. While the two terms may overlap, happiness is usually based on what is happening (e.g., I am happy because it is payday!). Joy, on the other hand, is not based on what is happening but is based on God’s grace. It is most evident when it appears during difficult circumstances (e.g., I may be hurting, but I have joy nonetheless!).
Jesus’ Joy. In our text, the crowd rejoiced at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. They shouted: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest” (38). Not only was the crowd rejoicing, but Jesus rejoiced with them. We know this because Jesus would not listen to the Pharisees when they told Him to rebuke His disciples (39). There was so much joy in this moment that Jesus said: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (40). The joy Jesus had at this moment was based on God’s grace. This was a moment where the crowds recognized that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.
Sad: A Time of Grief
Second, let us consider grief. Biblically speaking, grief is a deep feeling of sorrow over a particular situation or circumstance. For example, when Jesus wept over Jerusalem, it was not the shedding of a few tears, but mourning with deep sobs.
Jesus’ Grief. Jesus’ grief was evident when He saw Jerusalem. He grieved over what was about to happen to them when their enemies would tear them down to the ground. Notice the difference between Jesus’ display of grief and His display of joy: His joy was not based on circumstances but His grief was. Jesus’ default temperament was of joy. Yes, He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3); but this did not mean that He was somber and melancholy all the time (as we have seen earlier). Jesus was a joyful man but would grieve. What caused Jesus to grieve? In our text today Jesus’ grief was in knowing of Jerusalem’s coming destruction by the Romans in 70AD as a result of their failing to know “the things that make for peace” (42) and “the time of your visitation” (44).
Our Grief. We are called to grieve like Jesus. What does it mean to grieve like Jesus? Like Jesus, our default temperament should be that of joy. The reason being is that we do “not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13). Yes, we grieve but our grief never overcomes our joy “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom 5:5).
Mad: A Time of Anger
Third, let us consider anger. Biblically speaking, proper anger is a strong feeling of displeasure over sin and evil. Anger is not necessarily sinful because Jesus was angry on occasion (Mark 3:5). Notice again that Jesus’ default temperament was of joy but He would become angry as a result of sinful circumstances. Anger, itself, is neither good nor bad. It can quickly and easily become bad because of our sinfulness and stubbornness.
Jesus’ Anger. Jesus became angry because the Jewish authorities had turned the Temple from “a house of prayer” into a “den of robbers” (46). Jews from all around the world would come to the Temple to offer sacrifices and pay the Temple tax. They would bring their own currency but would need to exchange their coins for coins that were acceptable in the Temple. The problem came when the money-changers would charge a high fee to make the exchange, thus robbing the people of money. Jesus’ anger was the result of God’s house being profaned and He took action to stop it.
Our Anger. We are called to be angry like Jesus. What does it mean to be angry like Jesus? Consider Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Our anger must never become an opportunity for the devil to tempt us to sin. The key is that we must only be angry at the things that God hates: namely, sin. We must not direct our anger towards people, but we must direct our anger towards evil and injustice in this world.
In closing, a spiritually mature follower of Jesus will exercise self-control over everything: including his emotions. Let us exhibit our emotions as Jesus did and strive to live a life pleasing to Him as we grow in spiritual maturity.