Did Jesus battle depression? Seems like a strange question at first, but consider Isaiah’s prophesy of the coming Messiah: “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
That certainly sounds like someone dealing with the symptoms of depression. So why do we immediately push back at the thought that Jesus might have dealt with symptoms of depression?
Perhaps it is because we have the false notion that depression is either: 1) a sin, or a 2) sign of weakness. But neither is the case.
In fact, depression is not something a person chooses. Rather it is something a person must choose how to deal with. The real issue is not whether a person experiences depression, but instead, how the person reacts to depression.
For this reason I am of the opinion that Christ did indeed battle depression. And more importantly, He battled it perfectly. Hebrews 4:15 reminds us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Christ wasn’t the only person in Scripture who dealt with depression. For instance, David exclaimed, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping” (Psalm 6:6).
Even great preachers such as C.H. Spurgeon experienced the woes of depression. He explained, “I find myself frequently depressed—perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions.”
This issue is important to me because I have struggled with depression. And it has been my experience that there are no easy answers. The darkness can attack without warning. It does not ask permission and it does not need a reason. Make no mistake; depression is real.
What does it feel like? I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but for me, there are days that everything is covered with a thick fog. Despondency feels like an unending trance that is inescapable. And if someone were to offer you an all-expense paid vacation, you wouldn’t take it because you don’t even know what would make you happy. Worse, you feel like you don’t even know yourself anymore.