See article: Did Jesus ever experience a panic attack?
Posted by Rodney Hunt in Jesus, The Christian Journey
This is an excellent article. I have been meditating on Jesus’ agony in the garden and, like the author of the post linked above, I, too, have experienced panic attacks and, like he says in his article, “I certainly don’t think what I experienced in the form of a panic attack was anything close to what Jesus went through at this moment. However, I do realize that Jesus experienced something similar in his life and I can draw closer to him as result of this awareness.”
I had a hard time finding what I think is an accurate artistic representation of Jesus’ agony in the garden, and I was very pleased when I came across the illustration above. The gospels tell us Jesus “knelt down”, “fell to the ground”, and “fell on his face”, which is what I do whenever I have a panic attack. I break out in a cold, profuse sweat, start throwing up, fall on the ground, on my knees, both hands on the ground, sweat dripping off my face onto the ground, caught somewhere between existence and non existence. When I fall on the ground and my hands make contact with the earth I always feel better, because it feels like the ground itself and the earth is giving me strength and it feels like I came from there and will be returning there again (my body, that is, until the resurrection). As you might imagine, I am praying for all I am worth the entire time, because, at times like this, especially, I know God is my source of help and strength. The experience itself is totally exhausting.
I like the illustration, above, because it shows Jesus with at least one hand on the ground and he looks distressed. If I could draw I would draw a similar image except that I would have Jesus on his knees with both hands on the ground, with, perhaps, an angel next to him with a hand on Jesus’ back, strengthening him. Unfortunately, most images of Jesus’ agony in the garden portray Jesus on his knees with his hands folded in prayer and his elbows resting upon a rock, which is not at all what the gospels tell us. According to the gospels, Jesus was prostrate on the ground, on his face, in agony.
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:39-46).
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand” (Matthew 26:36-46).
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand” (Mark 14:32-42).
And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled
καὶ παραλαμβάνει τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ τὸν Ἰωάννην μετ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἤρξατο ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν
et adsumit Petrum et Iacobum et Iohannem secum et coepit pavere et taedere
ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι = to be greatly amazed (fear?)
Vulgate: et coepit pavere = and he began to fear
KJV: began to be sore amazed (fear?)
ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι (ekthambeisthai) — 1 Occurrence
BIB: καὶ ἤρξατο ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν
NAS: and began to be very distressed and troubled.
KJV: began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy
INT: and he began to be greatly amazed and deeply distressed
Other forms of the word:
ἐκθαμβεῖσθε (ekthambeisthe) — 1 Occurrence
ἐξεθαμβήθησαν (exethambēthēsan) — 2 Occurrences
Panic attack: You feel dizzy, nauseous, your heart starts racing…you’re sweaty, anxious, disoriented, and feel a little detached from reality.
awe [ɔː] n
1. overwhelming wonder, admiration, respect, or dread
2. Archaic power to inspire fear or reverence
(tr) to inspire with reverence or dread
[from Old Norse agi; related to Gothic agis fear, Greek akhesthai to be grieved]
aweless US, awless adj
prostrate adj [ˈprɒstreɪt]
1. lying with the face downwards, as in submission
2. exhausted physically or emotionally
3. helpless or defenceless
4. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Botany) (of a plant) growing closely along the ground
vb [prɒˈstreɪt] (tr)
1. to bow or cast (oneself) down, as in submission
2. to lay or throw down flat, as on the ground
3. to make helpless or defenceless
4. to make exhausted
[from Latin prōsternere to throw to the ground, from prō- before + sternere to lay low]