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Saturday, September 4, 2010

His Distress Continues

I have heard Christians and even preachers proclaim that Jesus knew everything and, because he was God, he was above the normal distress and agitation we experience. Did his understanding of events make him invincible to pain, agony, and depression?

I am convinced that he was fully human and had the same human emotions that I do. I think his victory over sin and death would pale before God the Father, would be incomplete, if it did not include these mundane and ordinary elements. What do you think?

The Book of John notes forcefully that Jesus was in distress and troubled. This book was written thirty or forty years after the Crucifixion, but the distress and uncertainty, and even fear, are still reflected in the words. Verse 13:21 says Jesus “was troubled in his spirit (KJV).” I think this means more than a raised eyebrow or a passing thought.

Many factors contribute to his distress. He had come to Jerusalem for Passover. The sacrifice of Passover was the significant event. He knew that he was to be that he would be the fulfillment of that sacrifice. Luke records that “he set his face that he would go to Jerusalem (KJV).” He did it on purpose even knowing the outcome. He did not manipulate the situation, but he knew the consequences and he did not change his behavior.

Knowing that this would be his last chance to speak with the disciples, he gave instructions for preparation of the supper. He offered them the bread and the wine in memory of himself, a ceremony they would remember forever. He washed their feet. He gave Judas a chance to repent. He prophesied to Peter. All these events weighed on him, and his distress was pronounced.

The following chapters chronicle his actions and the way he dealt with his worsening distress. What is most striking to you?