The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order
James 1:1-11; Psalm 119:67-68, 71-72, 75-76;Mark 8:11-13
He sighed. (Mark 8:12)
You’re going about your business, when out of the blue, someone makes a snide comment to your face. What would you do? If you’re like most people, you would get angry, and you would be tempted to make a vengeful retort. If you’re already stressed, that same comment might make you explode into a rage. But with the eyes of faith, we can see how these reactions are a sign that our fallen nature might be taking over—and that it’s a good time to remember what Jesus did in that same situation.
Surrounded by enemies who were constantly testing him, Jesus would have been justified in losing his temper. He was fully human, after all, so their slights likely hurt him just as much as they hurt us. But Jesus never returned their hostility with venom. When his tormentors asked him for yet another sign, Jesus just “sighed from the depth of his spirit” (Mark 8:12). Although clearly frustrated by their persistent unbelief, he didn’t retaliate. He just moved on quietly.
Jesus had a phenomenal mastery over his emotional life! While we often don’t need much to provoke us to pride or defensive anger, he always chose the way of humility. He knew that he didn’t have to promote himself. He knew that his mission was to do his Father’s will and to make him known. In this way, as in so many other ways, he showed himself to be the “perfect Son.”
But all is not lost for us. We can do more than just try with all our might to imitate Jesus—or worse, just give up in the face of challenges. Jesus’ own divine strength can become our strength. Because he experienced all the temptations we face and yet never gave in, we can ask him to bear our aggravation and frustrations. Because he offered a perfect sacrifice on the cross, we can share in his victorious life. When we embrace Godly self-control in our moments of anger, it’s a sign that his Spirit is at work in us. Then, people won’t see our “bad side”—they’ll see only Jesus!
“Lord Jesus, I marvel that you took on my ‘messy’ emotions as well as my sin. Fill me with your compassion so that I can forgive and love those who have hurt me.”~WAU