Jesus of Nazareth was true and fully man on earth, and thus he experienced the full range of human emotions, yet without sin. He showed us how to be human, and if we are going to grow up into His image, to be like Jesus, we have to look at Him completely.
Jesus was full of pity (Mk. 1:41). He healed sickness and disease, He saw multitudes of people weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd, and was moved with compassion (Matt. 9:36). He prayed to the Lord to send out laborers into the harvest, people who knew the gospel and were motivated by the fact that many are ready to come to faith. He said blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Jesus also had righteous anger. When spiritual leadership opposed His ministry and healing on the Sabbath, He looked at them in anger (Mk. 3:6). He rebuked His disciples when they prevented little children from being brought to Him (Mk. 10:14). Twice Jesus turned over tables and chairs of moneychangers and merchants in the temple. He poured out their money all over the floor and drove them out with a whip (Jn. 2:13-16; Mk. 11:15-18). Jesus attacked false prophets and called them ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15). He called out political rulers by name, calling Herod a fox (Lk. 13:32). He was openly shocked at the ignorance of the most respected teachers in Israel (Jn. 3:10).
If Jesus was here today, would we be offended at Him? Would you be comfortable with His leadership style? Would we accuse of not being a team player? Could He speak at our evangelical conferences?
Jesus knew sadness. Though He would bring Lazarus back to life, He loved him and his sisters, and when He saw Mary and Martha weeping, He wept (Jn. 11:33-35). Jesus loved His people the Jews and the city of Jerusalem, the same people who rejected Him. He said He wanted to gather them under His wing like a hen does her chicks, but they weren’t willing, and He wept over the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Lk. 19:41).
Jesus also had joy. He was a friend of tax collectors and sinners. He made great wine at a wedding in Cana. He loved to forgive the people who came asking for it regardless of their reputation (Lk. 7:47). He took little children into His arms and rejoiced that God revealed Himself to them but not to the so-called wise and prudent (Lk. 10:21). It was for the joy that was set before Him, our salvation, that Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb. 12:2).
We do not follow our emotions, they are bad leaders and terrible idols. But when we obey and trust God like Jesus did, we have a full range of obedient emotions that glorify God. To grow in these we need to know our Savior in His Word.