“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34).
ONE OF OUR GREAT ENDOWMENTS AS HUMAN BEINGS IS THE CAPACITY TO FEEL THINGS EMOTIONALLY. Whatever “emotions” any of the lower creatures may seem to have, these are far below the emotional abilities of human beings. And we are able to feel things the way we do because we are made in the image of a personal Creator. Emotions are the unique province of personal beings, and we are personal because God is personal.
The word “passion” simply means strong feeling. It may be good or bad, depending on what the feeling is about and what is done with that feeling. But the world would be a poorer place if there were no passionate people. All of us can feel, but some people seem to feel things more deeply and vividly. In the case of Jesus, who was God our Creator in the form of a human being, He felt things perfectly — which meant that at times He felt them very strongly. In the passage in Mark 6:34, for example, we see Him being moved with compassion for the multitudes who followed Him. He did not find their needs merely “interesting”; He was passionately moved by them. He cared, and He cared deeply.
Yet Jesus’ passion was never anything less than pure. It was always governed by eternally valid principles. Even when we see Him demonstrating anger, as in John 2:13–17, His anger was never out of control. I believe that both the purity of His passion and the passion of His purity would have caused many to think, “Here is a person unlike any who has ever appeared in the world.”
When we study Jesus, is it not His combination of passion and purity that is so powerful? As with all His other characteristics, the blend of these two in such a harmonious way is what allowed Him to have the influence that He did. And does this not remind us that we were created to be whole persons, not people with our various traits at war with each other? This wholeness was the beauty of Jesus, and my prayer must be: let this beauty be seen in me.
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity.
May His Spirit divine all my being refine;
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
(Albert W. T. Orsborn)