Saturday, February 11, 2012

Gethsemane: Glut and Loss

In our series of meditations on Jesus in Gethsemane, we have seen much about the extremity of Jesus' condition and behavior. Still, we have looked at only two of the five Greek words that describe it.

We've looked at ekthambeo (in "Sore Amazed": What Does This Mean) and agonia (in Dying in a Garden). There are three more:
  • ademoneo (ad-ay-mon-eh'-o)
    Matthew 26:37, Mark 14:33
  • perilupos (per-il'-oo-pos)
    Matthew 26:38, Mark 14:34
  • lupeo (loo-peh'-o)
    Matthew 26:37
A Glutted Depression

In Mark 14:33 we see that Jesus "began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy." Matthew 26:37 says He "began to be sorrowful and very heavy."

The word translated as “very heavy” is ademoneo. It is the strongest of three words used in the New Testament for depression. It means a distress of mind.

Ademoneo is from a derivative of adeo, which means “sated to loathing.” This worst of depressions involves a loathing. The loathing comes from being sated. Sate means to fill full, to satisfy an appetite, a desire, etc. to the full. Carried further, it means to provide with more than enough so as to weary or disgust, to cause a surfeit or a glut.

We might say that ademoneo means to be glutted into a severe depression by overfilling the mind. Jesus depressingly loathed the living nightmare he saw when it overfilled and glutted him.

Of what can we be too full?

Over, Under, Around, and Through

After seeing something approaching him, being struck with terror at its horror, and having his mind weighted with a glutted loathing of it, Jesus returned to his three closest disciples and said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.” Mark 14:34, Matt 26:38.

The word translated as “exceedingly sorrowful” is perilupos. Briefly, it means “grieved all around” or “surrounded by grief.”

The prefix peri often means circuit (around), excess (beyond), or completeness (through). Jesus was grieved and sorrowful around, beyond, and through.

This reminds me of an old television advertisement for a brand of cigarettes. The slogan was, "Over, under, around and through; Pall Mall travels mildness to you.” The advertisement showed smoke passing over, under, around, and through tobacco in a cigarette to the smoker. In Gethsemane, sorrow and grief passed over, under, around, and through Jesus.

What is smothering? From what can we not escape, without an outside deliverer?

A Loss of Riches

The word in Matthew 26:37 translated as “sorrowful” or “grieved” is lupeo. Matthew and Mark use this same word for the sorrow of the rich young ruler when he felt that he could not leave his riches.

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." But he was sad at this word, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:21-22.)

Two men, each taking up his cross, losing his riches, and suffering lupeo. Did Jesus have riches he would be sorry to leave? Sound superficial?

We like to use the expression, "to die for." That chocolate truffle is to die for. Those shoes are to die for. You can buy To Die For Clothing™.

We like to use the word passion. My passion is soccer. My passion is books. My passion is horses.

Yeah. We would be the ones to think Jesus is a little superficial to die for the loss of whatever his passion was. If it's not our superficial passion, we can't see it.

We might as well have joined Jesus' classical and modern critics. What was his passion again? What were his riches? Well, whatever. Each to his own, and you can't always get what you want. Why couldn't He just get over it, and move on? Why did he have to have such a pity party?

Perhaps Jesus' lupeo seems superficial only because we haven’t seen yet what his riches were, and because we do not value them the way Jesus does. The loss was killing him. He was dying then and there.

Complexity of Shock and Sorrow

With ademoneo and perilupos, seeming opposites hit Jesus at the same time. At once, he was both overfull of something, and He was losing everything. He was in glut and loss at the same time.

What both fills and empties us?

It killed us, in the Garden of Eden, and it was killing Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, for us, and for our salvation.


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