The Displeasure of Jesus

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”

— John 11:33

Grimm, in his lexicon to the New Testament, after giving as the equivalent of the word ἐμβριμάομάι (embrimaomai) in pagan use, “I am moved with anger,” “I roar or growl,” tells us that in Mark 1:43 and Matthew 9:30, it has a meaning different from that of the pagans, namely, “I command with severe admonishment.” I believe the statement a blunder. Translators have in those passages used the word similarly, and in one place, where a true version is of yet more consequence, have taken another liberty and rendered the word “groaned.” The Revisers, at the same time, place in the margin what I cannot but believe its true meaning—“was moved with indignation.” Let us look at all the passages in which the word is used of the Lord, and so, if we may, learn something concerning him. It is indeed right and necessary to insist that many a word must differ in moral weight and color as used of or by persons of different character. The anger of a good man is a very different thing from the anger of a bad man; the displeasure of Jesus must be a very different thing from the displeasure of a tyrant. But they are both anger, both displeasure, nevertheless. We have no right to change a root-meaning, and say in one case that a word means he was indignant, in another that it means he straitly or strictly charged, and in a third, that it means he groaned. Surely not thus shall we arrive at the truth! If any statement is made, any word employed, that we feel unworthy of the Lord, let us refuse it; let us say, “I do not believe that;” or “There must be something there that I cannot see into; I must wait; it cannot be what it looks to me, and be true of the Lord!” But to accept the word as used of the Lord, and say it means something quite different from what it means when used by the same writer of someone else, appears to me untruthful.