This is the “chief of sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the Gospel Light Minute X Podcast #401 titled, “The Last Hug and the Last Time .” I’m here to remind you of what the Bible says, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” like you and me.
Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #3
TEXT: Luke 24:13-34
According to the World Health Organization, over 350 million people around the world suffer from some form of depression. Long-term depression can lead to serious health problems. And, at its worse, depression can lead to suicide which is the cause of 1 million deaths each year. In recent months, the church has been forced to take a look at how it deals with depression. This is due in part to suicide being committed by pastors and children of pastors, as well as the seemingly consistent stream of reports which state that people who have carried out mass shootings, other criminal activity, including crashing a plane into a mountainside with 149 other people on board, suffer from some kind of depression or psychological illness.
So, depression is a real issue, and in our passage today, we find two depressed and discouraged individuals walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. One of these individuals is named Cleopas. Some have identified him as the husband of the “other Mary” who was at the cross as Jesus was being crucified. We do not know who his traveling companion is, but some have suggested that it is his wife. These two were on their way home from the Passover feast in Jerusalem which took place at the same time as Jesus’ crucifixion. Luke tells us that they were traveling “that same day.” This is referring to Sunday, the first Easter, after Mary, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and “other women” had gone to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus and found that the tomb was empty. The text indicates that Cleopas and his companion were with the disciples and others when the women came to tell them the good news, however, they, like the disciples, did not believe the report of the women. They are depressed, discouraged worried, and anxious about what has happened. As they are traveling, Jesus himself appears and begins walking with them, however, the Bible tells us that they do not recognize him. “Their eyes were holden that they should not know him” — indicating that their inability to recognize Jesus was divinely orchestrated.
How does this experience speak to the depressed and discouraged travelers as well as the depressed and discouraged people of today?
Wayne Brady is one of the most successful men in show-business today. He is an actor, talk show host, singer, and television personality. He has won two Daytime Emmy Awards and one Primetime Emmy Award. He has appeared in numerous movies and television shows and has hosted his own daytime talk show. He is currently the host of the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” making big money, of course.
Despite his success, fame and money, he recently revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that he suffers from depression. He said that he hit rock bottom this past June on his 42nd birthday. He recalled, “I was there by myself, in my bedroom, and I had a complete breakdown … Just go ahead and imagine for yourself a brother in his underwear, in his room, crying…”
He described his ongoing struggle saying, “Having a bad day is one thing, having a bad week is another, having a bad life… You don’t want to move; you can’t move in the darkness. You’re like, ‘I am just going to sit right here and… wallow in this. As much as it hurts, I am going to sit right here because this is what I deserve… I am that horrible of a person.'”
Wayne Brady said that this struggle with depression is like a vicious cycle that one can’t get out of. He said that constantly giving in to negative thoughts “starts this cycle where you tell yourself these lies … and those lies become true to you. So, you stick to your own truth you’ve set up. ‘If I am this bad, then why should any of this matter?’ I feel at that point, you end up wanting to stop the pain.”
Brady said he was able to identify with Robin Williams, the beloved comedian who recently committed suicide. He said Williams “made all these people feel great. And at the same time, he had this sense of low self-worth, of belonging, of loneliness, of pain that all the money in the world can’t cure, all the accolades and awards, and all the love from people all over the world…all that love could still not stop that man from saying, I am in so much pain.”
Millions of people around the world — rich and poor, famous and not-so-famous — suffer from depression. According to recent statistics from the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression around the world. And 15% of people who suffer from clinical depression end up committing suicide.
While people get depressed for various reasons, one of the most common reasons is that of searching for a life of fulfillment in something that cannot possibly provide that fulfillment. Many who are looking for fulfillment and satisfaction in life turn to, fame, sex, money, drugs, success, privilege, and material possessions. Outwardly, they seem to have it all, but, many of them, if they are honest, like Wayne Brady, they will admit that deep down inside, they are lonely, confused, restless, frustrated, unfulfilled, and afraid.
The truth of the matter is, no matter how smart, intelligent, gifted, funny, rich, or good-looking someone is, they cannot make it through life on their own. They will always feel as if something is missing, and they will go through life without hope, peace, and assurance.