Was Jesus ever anxious?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Pergamum, Sep 8, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing. In the Garden of Gethsemene Jesus had a great burden upon him. How would we describe it? He wept in 2 other places in Scripture.

    I recently heard a pastor say that anxiety was sin. He did not say depression was sin. But he did say anxiety was sin because the bible commands us not to do it.

    What about during the life of Jesus? Did he ever show himself to be anxious? And how should we describe his emotions at weeping and the burden of Gethsemene?
  2. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Certainly Jesus was never anxious in anyd sinful way, but neither was He always cool as the proverbial cucumber.

    Matt 12:49-50
    49 "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!
    50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!"
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Sweating in the garden would be considered an anxiety. But, as Ed said, never in a sinful fashion.
  4. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    “...I believe there is one view of Christ—and that not the least important to the tired and troubled believer—that can only be discovered in the Book of Psalms. I mean His inward life. No eye-witness of the outward man, even though an inspired evangelist, could penetrate the heart. But the Spirit who ‘searches the deep things of God’ has, in the Psalms, laid open the innermost thoughts, sorrows, and conflicts of our Lord.The writers of the gospels faithfully and intelligently depict the sinless Man; the Psalms alone lay open the heart of ‘the Man of sorrows’.”

    Rev. Henry Cooke in the excellent first Preface of The True Psalmody, 1861
  5. Col33

    Col33 Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes Jesus was afraid!

    His fears were beyond our comprehension including drinking the cup of God's wrath upon sins for us, and also experiencing forsaken-ness unlike anything we can imagine either.

    Our precious savior's anxiety (combined with fear) was so severe that He bleed through his pores.

    For example, if a Pastor preaches that is was a sin for a saint to have anxiety about to be martyred by being burned alive then I would not be interested in spending my time sitting under that pastor because his understanding is woefully deficient.

    It is all about what the original meaning of the words are and their context.
  6. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Jesus was perfectly sinless. Jesus was anxious and fearful according to his human nature. There is therefore an anxiousness and fear that are not in themselves sinful. We however, are not sinless, but sinful. Our most innocent anxieties and fears are often mingled with sin and unbelief. So we must guard against indulging a fearful and anxious temperament.

    We must however, also remember that such fears arise out of our own infirmity and weakness and should not be regarded or dealt with in the same way one would deal with presumptuous and willful sins. We should rather model the tenderness and patience of Christ with such as are afflicted with anxious cares and worries, notwithstanding their faith in Christ. Berating the worrier with denunciations of their worry as sin and demands that they simply "repent" will only exasperate their condition and leave them worse than when found. It will prove far more effective to apply to their case the balm of God's sovereignty, goodness, wisdom, love, and faithfulness. Where a mind is filled with such thoughts, worries are calmed and peace is enjoyed.
  7. Col33

    Col33 Puritan Board Freshman

    Dear Pastor Sheffield,


    Thank you for your post.

    Also, there are Thyroid conditions, endocrine problems, and other diseases that can cause adrenaline outputs that force the body into state of panic, rapid heart beat, and fear.

    I have know of poor saints that were being judged negatively by their churches for "sinful anxiety", later to discover the poor saints had been very ill and needed medicine, and in some cases surgery for tumors.

    Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, but now after the fall they can get sick in fearfully and mystifying ways!

    Medical science doesn't know it all yet, and just because a doctor says they can't find something the Pastor needs to be careful in determining if something really is spiritual, because it could still be medical.

    And the poor saint might even be convinced he is sinning when he had these uncontrollable episodes of panic and fear, not realizing himself that he is ill.

    Lord's blessings to you!
  8. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    I do agree. The health of our bodies may and often does have an effect on our souls and vice versa. But I would be careful to add, an individual may have physical ailments which occasion different emotional responses (anxiety, sorrow, or anger) and those responses not be wholly blameless. Someone can be under incredible physical trials and sickness AND respond to those trials in a sinful way. Wisdom will not fail to take into account an individual's circumstances, but neither will it fail to deal honestly with sinful responses to them.
  9. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    With a question such as this my mind immediately goes to Hebrews 4:15 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.

    Whether it is a sin to be anxious would, I suppose, depend on the circumstances, but there is no doubt that it is part of the human condition, and therefore our Lord must have experienced those feelings ... yet without sin.
  10. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I really don't see how Christ would call us to be anxious for nothing and yet he was anxious. I think there are other appropriate words to describe what he felt in the garden etc.
  11. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    U may be correct here, Sister. Sweating blood, says much. I don't know if when we are told to be anxious for nothing implies that being anxious for anything in particular is necessarily sinful, though.
  12. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Paul's teaching in Philippians 4:6 to be careful for nothing (μεριμναω), is in line with the Lord's teaching to Martha (Luke 10:41) as well as more generally (Matthew 6:25-34). Paul does not say that Christians will never feel any concern about anything. In his own case, he experienced great concern and distress about others at various times (e.g., 2 Cor. 2:13). But we are not to give ourselves over to a mindset of being laden down with care, but rather to take those things to the Lord in prayer.

    Whether "sore amazed" and "very heavy" or "exceedingly sorrowful unto death" (Mark 14:33-34) connote exactly what we tend to mean by anxiety or not (acute dread is clearly in view), the vital point is that Christ did take those feelings to God in prayer. Neither Paul nor any reasonable person who tries to read Scripture as a whole would say that this was sin.

    Our worries and anxieties can be sinful, to the degree that they arise from or are exacerbated by a fleshly mindset, or to the degree that they hinder rather than cause prayer.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Amen Amen x 1
    • List
  13. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    When I think of anxiety I think of "I don't know what's going to happen...." I feel it's a person (we all do this) who is being mistrustful of God to work things out for their good or one who is discontent in their circumstances and is trying to fix things to their own satisfaction. This isn't the word the pops into my head when I think of Christ sweating blood in the garden; instead, I think of "anguish". I can't imagine the suffering he knew he would have to endure being separated from his Father and taking on ALL the sin of his elect. That suffering goes way beyond the superficial feeling of anxiety in my opinion.
  14. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Not that I disagree; unless u are subject to anxiety attacks, trust me when I tell u they are 'anguish'. Most times, the sufferer feels as if they will die.
  15. Col33

    Col33 Puritan Board Freshman

    Dear Pergamum,

    Thank you for this post. It is important.

    1) What definition should we have for the word anxious?

    2) Other than Phil 4:6, are there other relevant scriptures we should consider?

    3) my biblical studies regarding this yielded that certain types of fears, which can be components of anxiety, are not sinful.

    Jesus was experiencing a type of fearful anxiety that is normal, not sinful.

    When we are about to knowingly have to experience something exceedingly physically painful, for example, the fearful anxiety is normal, not sinful.

    4) Our bodies produce adrenaline preparing us in important ways when triggered by fear or certain anxieties. This is normal and important for survival.

    Military combat is an excellent example of this good normal survival mechanism that is not sinful.

    5) The Greek in Phil 4:6 μεριμνᾶτε (merimnate) is translated as a phrase
    KJV Be careful for nothing
    NIV Do not be anxious
    NASB Be anxious for nothing
    ESV do not be anxious
    NLT Don't worry

    So how do we define the word anxious, and what do we consider to be sinful anxiety?

    6) What types of fears are not sinful? and which ones are sinful?

    In Christ, Marie
  16. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree with you about suffering under anxiety. I had extreme anxiety that kept me from doing daily chores. God delivered me from this chronic anxiety. However, every once in awhile I fall into anxiety but find that it's because I'm not trusting him and I'm being unthankful about my circumstances. I just feel that we could enter into dangerous territory when we ascribe a feeling to Christ that he has told us not to have and just throwing on the end of it "Well, he was anxious yet didn't sin". How many feelings are we willing to attribute to Christ as long as we hook "yet without sin" onto those feelings? It could get pretty dicey if you think about it. One could say, "Christ lusted but he lusted without sin when he lusted after the things of God.". Well, lusting after the things of God isn't bad but isn't there a better word to use since nowhere in Scripture does it use the word "lust" in a positive manner and in fact forbids us to lust? I just think we should be careful with our words and make sure we are using Scripture to back up our words. I could be completely wrong on this, but I don't see any Scripture which affirms that he was anxious and do see Scripture which prohibits anxiety. I know it's important to know that he was fully man and fully God. As a man, he had many of the feelings we have, but I feel there are certain feelings he just didn't have because those feelings are always associated with sin....IDK.
  17. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Calvin's comments on Christ's agony in the Garden are helpful—

    Certainly those who imagine that the Son of God was exempt from human passions do not truly and sincerely acknowledge him to be a man. And when it is even said that the divine power of Christ rested and was concealed for a time, that by his sufferings he might discharge all that belonged to the Redeemer, this was so far from being absurd, that in no other way could the mystery of our salvation have been accomplished. For Cyril has properly said: “That the suffering of Christ on the cross was not in every respect voluntary, but that it was voluntary on account of the will of the Father, and on account of our salvation, you may easily learn from his prayer, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. For the same reason that the Word of God is God, (John 1:1) and is naturally life itself, (John 11:25) nobody doubts that he had no dread of death; but, having been made flesh, (John 1:14) he allows the flesh to feel what belongs to it, and, therefore, being truly a man, he trembles at death, when it is now at the door, and says, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; but since it cannot be otherwise, let it be not as I will, but as thou wilt. You see how human nature, even in Christ himself, has the sufferings and fears which belong to it, but that the Word, who is united to it, raises it to a fortitude which is worthy of God.” He at length concludes: “You perceive that it was not for the sake of the flesh that the death of Christ was voluntary, but that it was voluntary, because, on account of it, according to the will of the Father, salvation and life were bestowed on men.” Such are the views of Cyril.

    Still the weakness which Christ took upon himself must be distinguished from ours, for there is a great difference. In us there is no affection unaccompanied by sin, because they all exceed due bounds and proper restraint; but when Christ was distressed by grief and fear, he did not rise against God, but continued to be regulated by the true rule of moderation. We need not wonder that, since he was innocent, and pure from every stain, the affections which flowed from him were pure and stainless; but that nothing proceeds from the corrupt nature of men which is not impure and filthy. Let us, therefore, attend to this distinction, that Christ, amidst fear and sadness, was weak without any taint of sin; but that all our affections are sinful, because they rise to an extravagant height.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Some background:

    I was very sick this past year. Multiple organ sweling/damage (liver/spleen/gallbladder all swollen, and kidneys not filtering correctly and an inflammation in my brain, and parasites, too). It was serious and took me off the field barely standing. I am now in another country recovering.

    It has all pretty much resolved now. My liver is now great and healed ("Your lab tests are like that of a 20-year old." the doc just said last month in reference to my liver. But 8 months ago the doc said I was developing fatty liver and my liver "looked like that of a chronic alcoholic..").

    Due to severe pain I could not sleep for months, unless I was medicated. I finally took xanax for awhile just to get to sleep (and this gives rebound symptoms when you stop, and you feel addicted after only about 8 days, but it helped great....wonderful stuff, at first, I can understand why folks get addicted).

    During dreams I would dream that I was dead and attending my own funeral, or that I was dying. I would also have dreams that my children would fall off a balcony or walk out into traffic while I was sleeping and unable to watch or guard them. I was too sick even to check my phone message for a month and had over 1,000 messages. Work seemed to pile up, until I just bowed out and sent the work to others (formed a team and now nationals take care of the details, which is a good development). I will return to my village in January if I can get a visa (the gov't might try to block me from re-entering the country because I exposed some illegal mining backed by big players behind the scenes. People got fined and imprisoned and now there are websites saying I am a CIA spy...thrill).

    After going about 48 hours with no sleep the mind gets rattled and some anxiety rises. During some of these periods I felt high anxiety.

    This is resolving now along with my physical symptoms (the mind and body are attached and if one is sick the other one sneezes, too).

    But I received several long emails of "encouragement" (mostly from Reformed folks into "Biblical Counseling" with long lists of verses warning us against anxiety. As if all anxiety was sin and we need to repent and get our mental orientation correct. It was not helpful. It seemed to pour guilt upon my troubles and made me be even more biased against nouthetic counseling. Instead of helping my spiritual state, this only made me angry. Several pastors said that anxiety and depression were signs of lack of faith. And of course, all the Puritan quotes came about God blessing us through trials and illness (true in the long term, but not in the short). All I heard was that I had to do better (at a time when I was doing the best I could).
  19. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Perg, if I may be so informal, I got saved at 36 years old by reading the Bible. Only then did I begin attending church. When people would have an optimistic view of Christianity I would always think of Paul. How as Saul he had wealth, respect of his peers, and worldly success.

    After the encounter with the Christ on the road to Damascus, from a worldly perspective, everything began to go downhill. I needn't reiterate Paul's litany of suffering from 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. So I keep in mind that in this short life of trial and tribulation the payoff is not always here, but in the hereafter. I have prayed for you in the past, and will begin to do so again.
  20. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    You're not a greater sinner than the rest of us who fall into anxiety. Trials are not an indication that God is judging you and is cursing you for not walking perfectly with him. God sends us trials to draw us closer to him and grow in him. We will always have trials this side of heaven because none of us are as mature in God as we should be. You've been going through great trials that would bring on anxiety for any of us. I used to have chronic anxiety over EVERYTHING until God broke its hold on me. However, I still do fall into anxiety. When I do I don't meditate on how sinful I am being by being anxious. Instead, I see it as a symptom of a deeper problem. My deeper problem usually stems from trying to control situations or from being unthankful for things. Your anxiety sounds like it stems from illnesses that you can't control. God uses things in our lives to teach us to run to him and constantly lean upon him as his children. It's not a judgment action on God's part but a merciful action. The more we learn to lean on God the deeper our peace, inner joy, and contentment in him will be. Joni Eareckson Tada has always said she would never change what happened to her for it was through her suffering that she learned and continues to learn to lean on Christ. Think of anxiety as God tapping you on the shoulder to remind you to run to your loving Savior. He wants you to be at peace in all circumstances. No one is going to be giddy when going through trials and God doesn't demand that of us. But he wants us to run to him for all things so that he might impart to us his peace, inner joy, and contentment. He wants to uphold you during your painful illnesses instead of you trying to uphold yourself and control everything. It's not a matter of you trying harder to be holy, instead, it's a matter of you running to Christ and telling him you can't even breath without his assistance and you need him every moment of your life. Rest in Christ he's got everything worked out for you and your family even though it may not look like it right now. Pray for relief of pain and calmness of mind (I'm sure you're doing this already). It's a slow process as you know, but I have no doubt that you have learned more about leaning on Christ because of your illness than you did previously.

    I have been keeping you in my prayers since you got sick and will continue to pray for you. You can pray for me too as I'm going through extreme back/neck pain and have the possibility of losing my job because at this point I can't pass the CPR class because of my pain. This means I wouldn't be able to get a nursing job anywhere if I do lose my job. This means my finances will take a huge dump and I have no idea what I will do. I'm 51yr old and can't go back to college for a different profession. I have until the end of September to pass CPR. It's hard to put that all in God's hands and to not have anxiety over it. I'm an extremely independent woman who has to control my future and when I can't I become anxious. I'm slowly learning to place my dependence on Christ knowing he truly loves me and though I go through hard trials and possibly harder trials in the future he will take care of me. All of this is a merciful act on God's part. He's interested in my spiritual growth and loves me enough to bring me through it.

    My point is is that you're not the greatest sinner alive. We all have anxiety about our circumstances. But we all have a heavenly Father who will care for us. We have a Savior who can identify with our suffering for he suffered even greater than we do. We have each other who will pray for one another and bear each other's burdens. We have God's word, prayer, the sacraments, and worship. He has given us much.
  21. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Thank you for that, sister. I will also pray for you.
  22. Harrison

    Harrison Puritan Board Freshman

    Jesus' burden and weeping were doubtlessly related to His perfect, sinless love for His Father, disciples, and friends. With the Garden of Gethsemene He was getting closer to His departure and leaving them on their own, along with, for most of them, their eventual martyrdoms. He would no longer be there to teach them and serve them in that specific capacity. I would view His weeping over Lazarus' death and Jerusalem as His compassion for what they were going through, not for Himself. In the case of anxiety on our parts, it's often (I speak for myself) related to me and my problems, not my love for others. Worse, it's a momentary abandonment of my trusting in God, of acknowledging His sovereignty over all things, and of rejoicing in Him regardless of my circumstances.
  23. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    Was that not an agony?
  24. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    The problem, as suggested by someone above, is with the word "anxiety". It has connotations to us which may be unhelpful to read back into Scripture. The KJV doesn't use the word "anxiety" but instead "care/careful" and in the sense of being taken up with secular/worldly concerns to an inordinate degree. There are things which one should be very careful over, the "one thing needful", that is, our soul's salvation. What Christ suffered in the garden was not anxiety, as I understand the term, but an anguish, an "agony", a battle of the soul.

    That is not to say that Christians can't suffer anxiety. But nor should we accept anxiety as normal or just part of life. We should seek to overcome it. And often it is a result of a lack of trusting in God's providence. Other times it's a result of mental illness which is something else altogether. But either way it's not a positive state of mind and we do have Scripture which says to resist it.
  25. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I agree that the word “anxious” is problematic when applied to the sufferings of Christ. He endured great mental, physical, and spiritual duress but he trusted his Father through it all. The words anxiety and anxiousness do imply a worry combined with lack of trust in God, in our culture at least.
  26. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    I do not agree. A believer may be anxious before a major surgery with full trust in God. A Christian soldier may have complete trust in God and also have a natural angst about the battle that is soon to commence. I do not think trust in God requires we be as cool as a cucumber in every trying circumstance.

    I have had repeated eye procedures done where they clamp my eyelids open and stick needles in my eye while I'm fully awake. I can assure you, the entire time I'm in that chair, I am at a heightened level of anxiety. But my confidence in God never flags. It is simply the natural response of someone sticking a needle in my eye.
  27. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    In our human condition we sometimes suffer from anxiety. If it is sinful to do so we are in good company. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 expresses what I would define as anxiety ;

    8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

    And again as translated in the NLT (forgive me :))

    8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

    If that doesn't meet the requirements of a definition of anxiety it will do until one comes along. So then ... Hebrews 4:15

    15 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.

    If our Lord was 'in all points tempted like as we are', and the Scriptures say that he was, He suffered anxiety. Apparently not accompanied by a lack of trust in God the Father, but with the foreknowledge of what He was to endure in His humanness He anticipated the agony.

    Thoughts ?

    Edit; Pastor Sheffield illustrates the point very well in his post above. He was posting while I was typing.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  28. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    In Mark 14:33 says that Jesus "began to be greatly distressed." The Greek word so rendered means "to throw into amazement or terror; to alarm thoroughly, to terrify"—Thayer's Greek Lexicon. Sounds to me like genuine anxiety and fear.
  29. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    It seems to me some are trying to crowbar the word anxiety into Scripture. It is not the same as "worry", "care", "concern", "grieved", "troubled" or even "anguish". Yes the word "anxious" has been used by Christian writers in the past but I wonder if they had the modern concept of "anxiety" in mind when they used it. Anxiety is a subjective therapeutic therm and I don't see that we need to be able to say Christ suffered anxiety. Did He suffer from depression? Bipolar disorder? Schizophrenia? Addiction? Christ can help His people through all these but I don't see why He would have needed to suffer from them Himself.

    Now maybe I'm trying to load too much onto the term "anxiety" myself but in the passages where people are saying He suffered anxiety I don't see the modern concept there. Even in the passage by Paul quoted above I don't think that being "overwhelmed beyond our ability" necessarily means anxiety.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  30. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sounds to me like alarm and distress, not anxiety. I can be alarmed or distressed about something without having anxiety about it. I'm alarmed and distressed about how the UK parliament is trying to sabotage Brexit. I'm not in a state of anxiety about it.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page