For his anger is for a moment, and his favor for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30.5)
As I tucked my kids into bed last night, I reminded them that this (Thursday) was the night that Jesus ate his final meal with his friends before he would be arrested and murdered. I have tried to imagine what Jesus was feeling knowing that within hours, one “friend” would betray him, one friend reject him, and everyone else would run and hide. His own people would falsely accuse him, his religious leaders illegally try him, and his government would refuse to defend him. What could he possibly have felt?
I seems like I have the tendency to (wrongly) believe that, because he was without sin, somehow that makes him without emotion. If he is fully human, than we know that cannot be the case, and he demonstrates as much during his three years of ministry as he gets angry, weeps for friends, shows compassion for many, etc. But I begin to wonder what “sinless” emotions might look like? Does it mean he never felt lonely? Does it mean he felt sorrow for others but never himself? Does it mean he never experienced anxiety? I am not sure, and I am confident there are many theologians who have spent countless hours writing countless pages in an effort to answer such questions for the three people who will read them.
I am a bit more simple-minded. Perhaps having “sinless emotions” simply means that, unlike sinners, Jesus didn’t allow his emotions to govern his attitude (and therefore his actions) because they were governed by the Word God. His security was not found in an unpredictable world, but in the sovereignty of God the Father. His acceptance was not found in an unloving world, but in perfection relationship with God the Father. His hope for future “success” was not found in a perverted world, but with God the Father in heaven. Though he cried, though he questioned, though even plead with God for mercy, he remained strong, courageous, and faithful in the darkest of hours. His emotions never overwhelmed Him with the fear of men, Satan, or death because they were overwhelmed by a deep unwavering trusting-fear in God.
To you O LORD I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, by my helper! You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever. (Psalm 30.8-12)