Apparently I sigh a lot – usually when I’m frustrated, angry, defeated, or impatient. Sometimes it’s all of these. So, when I read that Jesus sighed in front of the deaf and dumb man He was about to heal (Mark 7:34), I’m puzzled.
As His sighs are perfect, they cannot be caused by frustration, anger, defeat or impatience. So what produced this sinless sigh, a sigh of such significance that Mark included it in his Gospel? There are four possible components in this sigh:
1. A Sigh of Comparison: Just as we might sigh when we see a previously beautiful house or garden ruined by neglect or vandalism, so Jesus sighed when He saw the previously beautiful humanity that He had made (Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16) now so ruined and vandalized by sin and its consequences. This sigh was all the deeper as it focused on the two senses of speech communication that had so distinguished humanity. How the mighty had fallen!
2. A Sigh of Conquest: As the weightlifter groans, gasps, and sighs as he lifts the bending bar, so Jesus articulated the effort involved in this healing by similar sighs and groans. And remember Jesus was not just healing physical deafness and dumbness, He was most likely also saving a soul. Surely this was not “effortless,” but rather it cost Him and drained Him
3. A Sigh of Concern. This man had never heard or said anything sinful. His disabilities had reduced his sin opportunities. But Jesus knew that when he started hearing and speaking, his ears and his lips would start sinning. How worrying and concerning for Christ. He saw that greater temptations would now come his way and expressed His concerned pity through this sigh. Maybe the time would come when this man might wish he had never been able to speak and hear. Some of us may have felt this too at times.
4. A Sigh of Compassion: As Jesus saw the devastation visited upon the apex of God’s creation because of sin, He sighed with sympathy and empathy. “He took our sicknesses and carried our sorrows” (Matt. 8:17) does not mean that Christ suffered all our diseases, experienced our disabilities, and endured chicken pox, measles, flu, etc. However, it does mean that He was able to enter into such diseases, disabilities, and ailments and feel them as if he was going through them himself. In fact, with his perfect imagination and sensitivity, He was able to feel such things even more deeply than the actual sufferers.
How wonderful to have a Savior who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. I can bring all my sighs to Christ, because He has felt them even more than I have.