DEVOTIONAL | SHANNON MILLER.
Are you struggling with anxiety these days? Maybe you didn’t until 2020, or maybe, like me, you knew how to get tied up in fears and worries almost before you knew how to walk. I recently found hope for my troubled mind, in the image of thorns.
Dr. Anita Phillips draws connections among several passages of Scripture to illustrate how Christ carried our fear as well as our sin to the cross. In Genesis 3, the soil we were made from is cursed to bear thorns and thistles. In the parable of the sower, Jesus describes those thorns as “the cares of this world,” (Matthew 13:22, ESV). And in Luke 22:39-46, we see Him, having entered into our humanity, now weighed down with cares. He experienced the full range of human emotions, and in the garden of Gethsemane He experienced terror, anxiety, and pain.
The passage states that He was so distressed that He sweated drops of blood. Other recorded instances of this phenomenon were cases of extreme fear, in life-threatening circumstances. The Greek word often translated “agony” in verse 44 can also be translated “terror of death.” Fully God, He knew exactly what He would suffer on the cross for our sake. Fully man, He was not spared from fearing the pain of betrayal, abuse, crucifixion, death, and spiritual separation from His Father as He bore our sins. Soon after His anguish in the garden, Jesus was crowned with thorns (John 19:2) – the symbol of our cares and anxieties, piercing the mind of the Son of God who always preferred to draw closer to us by naming Himself the Son of Man.
What a comfort in anxious moments, to know that “surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” (Isaiah 53:4, ESV). “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15, BSB).
Our fears and worries were laid on our Lord’s head, and now we are invited to continually cast our cares on Him, and receive His peace instead (1 Peter 5:7, Romans 15:13). As Max Lucado put it, “Jesus promises you His vintage of peace! The peace that calmed His heart when He was falsely accused. The peace that steadied His voice when He spoke to Pilate. The peace that kept His thoughts clear and heart pure as He hung on the cross. This was His peace. This can be your peace.”