Matthew 26:37–38. “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.”
Two things rise to the top of my thinking this morning as I study this passage. Of course, there are far more than just two matters of importance. We could, indeed, spend hours just on these verses. They are perhaps some of the most evocative, poignant verses. The words Jesus said to His disciples were so open, so without pretense.
First, He took three with him: Peter, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee. These three, His “inner circle,” had the privilege of going farther with Him into the garden to watch with Him while He prayed and waited for Judas to do his work.
How amazing it would have been to be chosen to walk so closely with Him at this moment of His great sorrow!
Second, He uttered words that have become very precious to me in my work as a therapist. He said that He was overwhelmed with sorrow; so overwhelmed, in fact, that He felt very close to death.
That’s what depression can feel like. Two scriptures come to mind:
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Tomorrow, I will tell you why I believe He expressed such deep sorrow. For today, I just want to think about the fact that Jesus Himself, perfect God-Man, was capable of feeling such heaviness of spirit that He felt He was close to dying right there in the garden. Don’t you think Satan was tempting Him during those moments? If Satan could convince Jesus to die by His own hand, then the work of Calvary would not be accomplished. But Jesus was able to bear the sorrow, the weighed-down spirit, the sense of hopelessness because He went to the Father for the strength He needed to face the next hours of His earthly life.
Jesus was touched with the feeling our our infirmities, our weaknesses. Depression itself is not sin; however, we can be tempted, in our depression, to sin. We can lose faith; we can feel that God no longer cares for our heartache; we can become so wrapped up in our grief that nothing can penetrate the darkness that surrounds us.
But God. I love it when the scriptures describe such utter darkness of the soul, followed by the words “But God. . .”
He always has a way of escape for us. He always will give us what we need to find our way out of the darkest places of our hearts. He, too, has suffered torment. He is the Wounded Healer. No one understands like Jesus.