Friday, September 2, 2016

Depression and Jesus Christ the Son of God

 The Garden of Gethsemane

 While I was at a recent speaking engagement I mentioned that the Lord Jesus Christ was depressed in the Garden of Gethsemane and  also on the cross where He shed His blood for our sins. On the cross He was forsaken of God. He was forsaken while becoming a sin offering and bearing the wrath of God.
I wish to say that He although depression is not a sin, as humans, we would have an element of the old man within our hearts at all times. Jesus Christ, the perfect God-man experienced depression with none of the sin.

Here it is: We can be confident that the episodes of depressed mood in Jesus were from external circumstance.  But think about how Jesus now has first hand experience of intense depression as He intercedes before the Father for us in our weakness.
Several passages refer to Christ's experience of mental anguish.  Mark 14:33 (KJV) relates, "And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy."
The Greek expression is intense; it can mean "a feeling of terrified surprise." One of the two Greek verbs used is ekthambeisthai from ekthambeomai, which means "be amazed; alarmed; greatly astonished." The other is ademonein from ademoneo, meaning "be troubled or intensely depressed and distressed."

Mathew 26:37-38 says, And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.  Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me."  In verse 37 the word ademonein is used alongside lypeisthai from lypeo, meaning "grieve; weep; be sad or depressed." In verse 38 Jesus says, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death."  "Deeply grieved" is from perilypos, combining the preposition peri, meaning "around," with lypos, meaning "sad." Sadness is intense, as one surrounded by sorrow. Here Jesus says that He is near death with sorrow. It was after this that an angel appeared to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43; c.f. Matt. 4:11).
In Luke 22:44, "and being in agony He was praying very fervently," the words "and being in agony" transalte en agonia. In classic Greek literature, the agon was a place of a great contest.  It came to refer to a contest, race, struggle, or fight.

The most intense words available to refer to emotions and emotional states were used to describe Christ's struggle at Gethsemane.  The hymn writer is certainly in error when he writes, "He had no tears for his own grief but sweat drops of blood for mine." Charles Gabriel, "My Savior's Love"(1905).  Jesus Christ was preparing to take up the wrath of God for our sins.  The Father would charge those offenses to Christ for punishment. God would forsake Jesus, leaving Him in the lurch.  For Jesus, the agony was so horrible that in utter darkness on the cross, He cried, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" On the cross, He does not use the affectionate word of a child for a father, "Abba."  He spoke as the "one mediator...between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time." (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

The quote above comes from the Bloem's book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. It is in the chapter, Biblical Evidence (chapter 17, pp. 216-218). The book is published by Kregel Publications in Grand Rapids, Michigan (2005).  If you would like a copy please go to our web site
The Bloem's have been asked by Kregel Publications to write two more books on the subject of mental illness and the Christian.

 In his exposition of Psalm 40, Spurgeon  says, "When our Lord bore in His own person the terrible curse which was due sin, He was so cast down as to be like a prisoner in a deep, dark, fearful dungeon, amid whose horrible glooms the captive heard a nose as of rushing torrents, while overhead resounded the tramp of furious foes.

 Our Lord in His anguish was like a captive in the oubliettes,   (ed.a dungeon with an opening only at the top) forgotten of all mankind, immured amid horror, darkness, and desolation.Yea the Lord Jehovah made Him to ascend from all His abasement.  He retraced His   steps from that deep hell of anguish into which He had been cast as our substitute. He, who thus delivered our surety in extremis, will not fail to liberate us from our lighter griefs. Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David, vol. 1   (1869; repr., Newark, NJ: Cornerstone, n.d.)