What Jesus teaches us about helping people with their mental health

What Jesus teaches us about helping people with their mental health by Wade Hudson-Roberts for Christian Today

There is a text in the Bible I have grappled with for years and I think I might be on the way to understanding it.

Aware of the imminency of his death, Jesus retreats to the garden of Gethsemane. Just before his entrance, Jesus invites his disciples to support him in prayer. Confident of their support, Jesus enters the garden. What exactly took place in the Garden we will never know but Jesus’ struggle with life and death is captured in the words: ‘May this cup pass from me but not my will but yours.’

Why did Jesus utter these words?’ What was behind them?

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Jesus knew his enemies were circling and his days numbered. Having publicly declared himself as the Son of God, he had become a threat to the status quo, regarded a traitor by His enemies. Jesus’ crucifixion, as far as the Romans were concerned, had become the only option open to him.

Having possibly witnessed a countless number of crucifixions during his early years, the pain and the agony would not have been lost on him. He would have been familiar with the agonising pain that punctured the Roman skies; the inhumanity of it all; the mocking crowds chanting for an extension of the crucifixion, lyrically urging the tortuous experience to continue into the pain of the night and even beyond.

It’s no wonder Jesus said: ‘May this cup pass from me.’ He was fully aware that this was a most gruesome way to die.

I cannot think of one human being, alive or dead, that would not struggle with their mental health if faced with these conditions and this includes God in human form. His Gethsemane experience means that Jesus does more than listen to the groans of those who cry from the recesses of their soul for release from their mental health struggles. He goes a step beyond this and empathises. The intensity of Jesus’ encounter in Gethsemane qualifies him to deeply connect with countless numbers of people struggling with their mental health.

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