“The law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.”
Jesus is the perfect priest who can completely empathize with our weaknesses. His response to our plight—especially our grief and pain—is utterly perfect. This is good news for the hurting widow, the rejected wife, the abandoned young person, and the stroke survivor dealing with loss of his ability to think clearly and walk steadily. It’s good news because sometimes we think that God is far removed from our heartache. Yet Jesus—God in the flesh—is never, ever far removed from our grief.
Consider the grief shown by Jesus in the Gospels. See him with Mary, the sister of Lazarus, at the tomb of her brother. John 11:35 poignantly observes that “Jesus wept.” Did only his human nature weep and not his divine? No, for Jesus explained, “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (John 5:19). The grief Jesus showed on earth reflects not only the Father’s heart but also the Holy Spirit’s—for we learn in Isaiah 63:10 of the Spirit’s reaction to a straying Israel: “They rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit.” The entire Trinity is able to grieve.
“As with his contentment, joy, and anger,” says Steve Estes, “God’s grief is a worthy emotion—without weakness, without impurity, without anything uncomely. It never paralyzes him, and it did not lead him sentimentally to ignore justice.”2 In other words, when God grieves, he does it perfectly. He does it without reservations or insecurities. He always knows the right thing to feel, do, and say. Others may stumble to offer the right response, but not God. When it is right to grieve, when grieving is the perfect response—this is what God does, because he is perfect.
If you know someone who is grieving, gently point that person to Christ. The Lord grieves better, more wisely, and more wonderfully than anyone can imagine.
Lord, thank you for always having the perfect response to whatever it is I am going through, whether grief, joy, pain, or contentment.