Thursday, December 1, 2016
“And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy” (Mark 14:33 KJV).
When one reads about Jesus’ condition during this time in his life, it is hard to understand what “sore amazed” or “be very heavy” means. The ASV renders it as, “began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled.” Notice “sore” has been switched. If one was hostile to reading from the NASV, RSV, or NIV, he had to wait until 1989 to read the NKJV which translates the passage, “He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.” “Sore amazed” and “be troubled” seems quite different. So does “to be very heavy” and “deeply distressed.” The NRSV uses “distressed and agitated.” The IEB translates it as “He began to feel very sad and depressed.” So, these translations say Jesus was “very heavy,” “sore troubled,” “deeply distressed,” “agitated,” and “depressed.” Isn’t it strange that some cannot imagine Jesus being troubled, distressed, or depressed nor can they see him with a smile spread across his face nor laughing until his sides hurt?
Perhaps the King James committee felt it would be blasphemy to portray Jesus as human and experiencing either sadness or depression! Maybe “very heavy” meant distressed or depressed in 1611? Yet, as a human being, he did get angry (Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26). He felt hunger (Matthew 11:12). He was thirsty (John 19:28). He was tired (4:6). He needed sleep (Mark 4:38). He dreaded pain (Matthew 26:42). He was tempted (Hebrews 4:15). He bled (Mark 14:24). He felt alone (Matthew 27:46). He also died (Luke 23:46). If Jesus went though all that, why could he not feel sadness and depression? He was about to die for a world that thought it was better off without him and did not care! John said, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11 NKJV). Was he not saddened that the disciples could not stay awake while he prayed (Matthew 26:40-41)? What about when he received that betrayal kiss (Matthew 26:48-49)? Then there is the time when all of his disciples fled into the night and left him alone to face his destiny (Matthew 26:56)? What about when Peter, denied him (Matthew 26:74)? If the emotion of rejoicing is in heaven when one sinner repents, and God can be regretful over man’s actions, couldn’t man’s sinful course in life weigh heavily on Jesus’ mind and be expressed in those two human emotions (Luke 15:7, 10; Genesis 6:6)?
Jesus, the Word of God, emptied himself and became a servant (Philippians 4:7 ASV). He humbled himself to be born as a baby and do baby things! He outgrew his baby face and developing a teenage one. Prior to leaving his teens he began growing his beard (Luke 2:52). Ask any man who has grown a beard the first time what his feelings were concerning that growth! Until he was thirty, he worked with Joseph as a carpenter (Luke 4:22). Did he have blisters before forming callouses? Did he become muscular from cutting wood to make different pieces of furniture? Didn’t sweat cover his brow and drip from his hair into his eyes, irritating them? Did he enjoy a Friday evening bath in preparation for the Sabbath? His feet were covered with dust and had to be washed like any other Jewish man (John 13:4-5; Luke 7:44). He was a male Jew involved in daily Hebrew life.
If Jesus could be angry because of man’s rejection and blindness, could he not be depressed or in heaviness over their preferred slavery to Satan? He was angry, but did not sin. Anger is not sinful if it is correctly directed. Depression is not a sin either. Godly men, like Job can be depressed after losing their children and animals, then being inflicted with painful sores, topped off by the advise of a misguided wife, then be falsely charged by his so-called friends? According to Psychology Today, the “to be very heavy” of the KJV can be the “depression” translated as so in the IEB.
The “Word of God” became flesh and dwelt among men. He took our sins and bestowed upon us “the righteousness of God” (John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV). God’s Word became a baby, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and died outside Jerusalem in order to save us. His name, “Jesus” means “the salvation of Jehovah or Yahweh.” Jesus is God’s love in human flesh!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)