“When He heard this, He sighed deeply and said, ‘Why do you people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I assure you, I will not give this generation any such sign.’”  Mark 8:12

We’re familiar with the fact that Jesus wept. I’m amazed to find that aside from weeping, Jesus sighed, too. What’s a sigh? What made Him sigh deeply? And, what should that divine sigh mean to us? According to the dictionary, to sigh is to have a deep audible breath; to grieve; to yearn. It was Pharisees’ demand for a sign proving who Jesus claimed to be that made Him sigh.

Who were those folks, and why would Jesus sigh at their demands? Isn’t it legitimate to be discerning and be on guard against false claims? By the standards of the community and religion, the Pharisees were outstanding. But before God, He sees their hearts that have hardened and have chosen to be so. We see and are immediately attracted to outward appearances. God is the opposite—He sees the heart; He looks for brokenness; He blesses the humble and rejects the proud. What was the meaning of His deep sighing? I think it was more of grieving. After all the miracles He did, they still wanted more. It was a deep breath that relayed pity for the Pharisees’ unbelief. Remember, they came not to learn but to find fault. Somehow, this divine sigh speaks much more than words could describe. The deep sighing successfully relayed what was in the Lord’s heart. If we could look deep into the spiritual tumor existing in the hearts of the hardened, we will find these four serious diseases:

  • A heart with no hunger for God.
  • A heart devoid of humility before God.
  • A heart with no trace of humor whatsoever.
  • A heart that has just been declared as having “No hope available.”

Jesus saw these in the hearts, not only of the Pharisees, but also in anyone with a hard heart. They are those who come seeking error instead of admitting their sin; those self-appointed inspectors of creed; and those who seek to find fault and pin down the Lord. They all bore the same cancer; it was only a matter of time before they self-destructed. They were like cadavers awaiting burial or burning. To save words in describing their doom, Jesus simply sighed and walked away. Jesus wept for sinners; and He sighed for the legalists and the self-righteous.

=== This excerpt is taken from Moments of Grace written by Arnel C. Tan and published by OMF Literature Inc. To get the full devotional in print or digital format, please visit any OMF Lit and Passages Bookshop or go to www.passages.com.ph.