Christ's Moral Sufferings are what the Lord felt because of who He was as a holy Man in a world of sin. Sometimes these sufferings are called His constitutional sufferings.
Christ's Groaning. We see the moral sufferings of Christ never so clearly as in John 11, at the grave of Lazarus. Twice over, the moral sufferings of Christ caused Him to groan; once in vv.33-34, and again in vv.37-38 for a different reason. The word "groaning" is interesting in the original. There is no easy English equivalent. The actual word is 'thundered-in'... an inward thundering. It could have been somewhere between a muttering and a snorting noise, but the point is not so much the noise as the internal suffering in His soul.
- John 11:33-34. Here we find Jesus suffering in His spirit because of the effects of sin in God's creation. He saw the sorrow that death had brought to Mary and the others, and it troubled him. This was coupled with deep sympathy for them, and it resulted in His shedding tears.
“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled... "(John 11:33-34).
- John 11:37-38. Here we find the Lord suffering upon feeling the callousness produced in the hearts of others, the sisters of Bethany, who not only misunderstood Him (like Mary and Martha) but positively disbelieved Him. They were blind to who He really was! Their words produced the second groan from the heart of Jesus.
"And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave." (John 11:37-38).
It may be a similar thought to Romans 8, where (1) the creation groans unintelligently under the bondage of corruption, (2) the believer groans with a measure of intelligence, and (3) the Spirit of God groans with perfect intelligence within us, because the Spirit is able to perfectly express to God what we feel but are unable to articulate.
Grieved for the hardness of their hearts. When Jesus saw religious corruption, it produced moral suffering in His soul. Throughout the gospels, whenever Jesus healed on the Sabbath day, the true moral condition of the hard-hearted Jews was manifested. For instance, the Pharisees had no love for the man with the withered hand. They would readily break the Sabbath if their own commercial interests were at stake, yet they would not lift a finger to relieve their fellow man.
But Jesus, “When he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” (Mark 3:5)
Our Fellowship with Christ in Moral Suffering. In this aspect of suffering we can "suffer with Christ" (Rom. 8:17). In Matthew 5:4 we find that one of the beatitudes is a mournful spirit concerning the low moral condition around us.
“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4)
The Lord felt the low moral condition in Israel more than anyone else. There was nothing else the Man from heaven could do when He saw this world of sin and suffering, but mourn. Even Lot, who was in a very compromising position, suffered in part with what was fully felt by our Lord;
“For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2 Peter 2:8)