J. Todd Billings is a theology professor who was diagnosed with an incurable cancer in the fall of 2012 at age 39. His book, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ, is a collection of his theological and personal reflections in light of his terminal disease. Whether one likes it or […]
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Most of us exist in a state of desperation, but we are afraid to admit it. Strangely enough, we will not pray as we ought unless we are willing to admit our weakness, brokenness, and desperation. We need God in our lives. It is for this reason that we pray.
Had Jesus desired to do so, he could have satisfied his physical thirst. However, Jesus’ desire for water, for relief from his pain, was not as great as his desire to redeem humankind. In other words, Jesus’ thirst for us trumped his thirst for water. “I thirst” is not simply identification with human pain, but an expression of God’s passion for humanity’s redemption.
Jesus was able to be compassionate precisely because he fully embraced and expressed joy, sorrow, anger, and fear. As one fully immersed in the human experience, Jesus was profoundly moved by the sufferings and troubles of others. His deep emotional experiences produced a tender heart of compassion.