Learning from three experiences that gave Jesus anxiety
Jesus is our hero. His example, his teachings, his works and his faithfulness are absolutely legendary. They provide a flood of inspiration for anyone who would want it. To think of Jesus as being troubled in mind seems to be completely contrary to what we think of our Savior. After all, the book of Hebrews says he was "holy, innocent, undefiled and separated from sinners." How could he have anxiety? The fact is, there were three recorded instances in his life where he was troubled. Were these experiences a show of weakness or doubt? Did Jesus have some flaw we never talk about? No and no! What these experiences do show us is the amazing fortitude, courage and godliness of the man Christ Jesus.
What exactly does it mean when we say Jesus was "troubled"? The specific word used in the New Testament for the three experiences we discuss has an array of meanings. It can mean seriously uncomfortable, as John the Baptist's father was when he was suddenly visited by the angel foretelling John’s birth. It can mean agitated, as Herod was when he was speaking to the three wise men about their search for the newly born “king” whose star they had followed. It can also mean terrified, as the apostles were when they first saw Jesus walking on water. The point is, being troubled is not just a feeling of emotional unrest; it refers to a deep sense of discomfort.
Throughout the four Gospels we see many differing depictions of Jesus. He was often calm and humble. Yet, he was also challenging and cryptic. Jesus was overwhelmingly loving and compassionate. Yet, he was also firm in speaking hard truths. He had unwavering courage, sometimes sought peace and serenity, and he also became angry, very angry. Yet, throughout his entire ministry we never saw him troubled or with anxiety - until his earthly ministry was almost complete.
We all feel the pressure and anxiety when we are faced with a seriously important deadline approaching. Our minds race, our heartbeat increases and maybe our palms sweat as we strive to finish our work. We put in whatever extra time is needed, check the details and make sure everything is in order. Then we check again as we weigh our efforts against what is being required of us. Jesus was no different. Not surprisingly, his three troubling experiences were all within the last month of his earthly life.
With the deadline he was facing and the magnitude of the work he was tasked with completing, we also need to examine what and who Jesus was up against. Satan knew Jesus had come to take the dominion of earth from him and was trying to stand in Jesus’ way. Satan would not go down without a fight. Check out our April 6, 2020 podcast, “What Things Troubled Jesus?” for more. We lay out these three troubling experiences, find the pattern of Satan’s influence and observe the profound victory Jesus achieved. This is a rarely heard lesson for the ages!
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