BOOK PREVIEW | Jesus Can Relate

Thank you all for your support and feedback on my previous Book Preview posts. All the craziness of 2020 has slowed down my writing process quite a bit, but I’m hoping to get back on track. Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite parts so far, chapter 5, which is entitled “Jesus Can Relate” Please share your thoughts in the comments!


When I was a kid, a huge painting of Jesus hung in my church. He stood serenely in a field, his brown hair cascading down his shoulders and his blue eyes lovingly gazing on the sweet little lamb he held. That painting comes to mind not only because of its aesthetic value– it’s a beautiful painting– but because isn’t that how we tend to see Jesus? Calm and eternally unbothered? 

In some ways, that’s a comforting and theologically accurate image; never will he waver or be defeated. Never does he have to wonder who holds tomorrow, because he does. Yet at the same time, how difficult would it be to pour out your heart to a God who could never fathom your suffering?

What if I told you that Jesus has “been there?” That the zen figure holding the little lamb has felt pain, hunger, anguish, and thirst? Christianity stands unique among faiths because no other can claim a God who chose those things; a God who chose to be human. In reading the gospel, I can’t help but think that Jesus walked through many of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Nowhere are those parallels more evident than in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prepared for the crucifixion.   

Grieved to the Point of Death

As Jesus left his last supper to pray in the garden, he began to gradually unmask. Three of his disciples, including Peter, were invited into his inner turmoil: “I am deeply grieved to the point of death,” he told them. Luke’s account shares that he prayed in anguish and sweated drops of blood. Sweating blood is rare, but not so rare that it doesn’t have a name; doctors call it hematohidrosis. According to the National Institute of Health, its cause is unknown, but it is thought to be associated with fear, excessive exertion, and intense emotional distress. Even during my worst panic attack, I can’t imagine such profound anguish. 

Imagine Christ: fully God, bearing the weight of humanity’s salvation on his shoulders; fully man, buckling underneath it. What a stark contrast from church-painting Jesus. Knowing the necessity of what he was about to do did not make it any less terrifying. His love for those he came to save did not make the process any more desirable. 

Gethsemane is not the only place where we saw Jesus’s human side. Throughout his ministry, he had already shown himself compassionate and fully feeling; he wept over the death of his friend Lazarus, whom he had to know would not stay dead. I can’t think of anything more human than to grieve on Friday even when we know Sunday is coming.  

Basically, friends, Jesus felt. His feelings did not control him, but he did not hide them under a bushel, either. Faith does not mean refusing to feel the weight of what you’re walking through. It does not mean refusing to grieve. Jesus felt. You’re allowed to, too.

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