For the past month we’ve been looking at people in the bible that were so depressed, stressed or angry that they wanted to die. Here's what we’ve seen.
· Bitterness - Jonah had so much anger towards the Assyrians that he said he’d rather die than share God’s forgiveness with them.
· Burnout - Moses wanted to die because he was assuming unrealistic amount of responsibility and expectations and couldn’t delegate.
· Depression - Elijah wanted to die because he lost his perspective and focused only on the defeats and threats, forgetting all God had done.
· Pain/Loss - Job had experienced so much pain, loss and despair that he said “Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (3:11).
This week we’ll look at Jesus and how his voluntary sacrifice contrasts with these four men that wanted to die.
Jonah was angry. He thought it just wasn’t fair for the evil Assyrians to find forgiveness. What about the fairness of crucifying Jesus after holding an illegal rushed trial at night? Jesus was tempted in all things, which includes anger, yet he did not sin. You might be thinking of Matthew 21:12 where He overturned the tables of the money-changers – yes, but he never sinned in his anger. He knew how to use anger, a godly anger, in the right moment and for the right reasons. What about us? Do we get so locked on to what is “fair” that we get angry inappropriately?
Moses had a performance mentality. He thought he had to do everything in order for it to be done right. He never considered asking for help until his life was falling apart. Sound familiar? We all run on a very fast track and can easily drift towards independence and we become isolated and experience burnout. What about the weight of the world that rested on the shoulders of Jesus? When it came to the forgiveness of our sins through the cross it was Him or nothing. He even asked his Father is there was another way that did not include Him dying (Matt. 26:39). I’m glad Jesus was strong enough to follow through with the task that was uniquely his. The fate of the world does not rest on our shoulders. Google “Messiah Complex” and you’ll see what I mean.
Elijah felt alone and he felt like a failure, but in reality, he was not alone. There were 400 other prophets that had stayed true to God and not fallen into the pagan idolatrous trap of Baal worship. Jesus likely felt alone too: “The son of man has no place to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20). Yet, He was not alone, He was daily abiding (remaining with) His father. We are not alone either – something we have to intentionally remember when we feel like we are alone. When Jesus charged us to make disciples (Matt. 28:19) he also said, “I am with you always.”
Job undeservedly lost everything. His money, his servants, his family and even his health. For no reason that he could see or comprehend. Jesus gave up everything to become incarnate, walk among us, die for us, and rise again defeating sin, death and darkness. The next time we lose “everything” (which is never really “everything”) draw your eyes to Jesus who truly, completely, lovingly gave up his rightful use of divine attributes while on earth for us (see Phil. 2:7).
So, when you struggle with anger/bitterness, or burnout, depression, or a painful loss in your life – turn to Jesus who has waded through those waters ahead of us. He is waiting to comfort us. He is with us. We are not alone.
Enjoy walking with the Savior today,