Eating a Depression Sandwich
Can you imagine how Jesus felt before He went to the cross? Talk about dealing with pressure. He was literally sandwiched between a disciple and good friend who would not defend Him and another disciple who turned Him over to His death.
Peter says that He would defend Him, but Jesus knew that Peter would turn from Him.
Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
(Mark 14:29-31 ESV)
Judas never said what he would do, but Jesus already knew.
And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
(Mark 14:18-21 ESV)
Between the time that Peter said that he would be true and the time that Judas gave Jesus up to the authorities, there is this time of anguish and pain in the garden. Jesus claims to feel like a squeezed sandwich.
And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”
(Mark 14:34 ESV)
I can think of no other verse in the Bible that expresses depression so vividly. Jesus describes that he doesn’t want to just cry with tears. He is in total anguish about the circumstances around Him. Friends are leaving Him, and someone is out to turn Him in. And Jesus knows what will happen. He knows that it will get bloody and painful. He knows He will be stripped, whipped, insulted, spat on, and then nailed on a cross and left to die. Pretty depressing stuff.
These thoughts seem to squeeze Him like a sandwich. He talks about not wanting to take a cup – a reference to a cup of suffering. Saying that the cross is a cup that He does not want to drink is the same as saying “this is too hard for me to swallow”.
Jesus keeps praying and His disciples start sleeping. Now that would make me depressed. To see my best friends not care at all what I am going through is just as bad as knowing that one friend is going to send you to your death.
Of course, Jesus did the right thing. He called out to God. He did it three times, and then Jesus accepted God’s answer. Luke says that angels came and comforted Jesus during His prayer time.
And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
(Luke 22:43-44 ESV)
You can see the physical affects of this depression and pain. He was in such pain that He sweat drops of blood. Jesus experienced real physical and emotional effects of this difficult time, including depression. Despite all of this, Jesus made it through His worst trial. How did He do it? He looked beyond His current circumstance to better things ahead.
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
(Hebrews 12:2-3 ESV)
If Jesus could eat a depression sandwich and still recover from its effects, so can you and I.