For most of my life until about age 40 I struggled with anxiety. Almost nobody knew it because I hid it, but inside my mind circled with worries, my stomach churned, and my bowels were irritated. The other reason people around me didn’t see my anxiety was because I much of the time I was listening to them talk.
Two things people did notice around me was that I was real serious and usually in a hurry. I knew these were symptoms of my anxiety.
So probably you can understand that one of my favorite qualities of Jesus that has ministered to me so powerfully is that he is relaxed.
Jesus is Relaxed
We can relax with Jesus because he’s the Prince of Peace.
Don’t you love how at peace the Lord Jesus is?! He has a patient, easy-going, fun-loving, interruptible, acutely aware, and nonreactive mode of being. Everywhere he goes, including situations that are enormously stressful, Jesus brings a non anxious presence. He ministers shalom (the fullness of God’s peace) to us.
In other words, Jesus doesn’t just teach us to be at peace, he shows us how to be at peace from his own life as a human being and how he dealt with stress and temptations to sin. He learned how to rest in Abba’s love even in enormous stress, intense conflict with family and friends, huge disappointments, and a demanding ministry.
Bible Verses Showing Jesus Relaxed Under Pressure
Let’s relax with Jesus. Consider with me a few examples from the Gospels of how Jesus is relaxed as he deals with some very stressful situations:
- When as a 12-year old young man he stayed in the temple alone for days and his worried sick mother was upset at him, Jesus gently but firmly told her that his first priority was being in his Father’s house and she should’ve known that (Luke 2:41-51)
- When he must have been tempted to ambitiously launch his public ministry as a young man he chose to be content to grow in grace, care for his family, and work as a blue collar worker for 18 years until the Father released him (Luke 2:52)
- When it’s time to launch his public ministry he’s unhurried and goes to the desert to pray for forty days (Mark 1:12-13)
- When his family tries to manipulate him in front of a crowd he calmly sets a boundary (Mark 3:31-34)
- When crowds of people are following him everywhere he goes and pressing in on him he gets in a boat and winsomely teaches them using stories (Mark 4:1-2)
- When crowds interrupt his retreat he patiently responds to feed them (Mark 4:32-44)
- When he’s in a fishing boat at sea and caught in a life-threatening storm he naps (Mark 4:37-38)
- When he’s ministering to one person and another interrupts him he’s happy to take time to heal them both (Luke 8:40-56)
- When some blind people shout, “Lord, have mercy!” as he’s walking by he stops to heal them (Matt. 9:27-30, 20:29-34)
- When he’s frustrated with cities that rejected his message he abruptly breaks into prayer to minister the Father’s love to the people in front of him (Matt. 11:25-30)
- When Jesus’ brothers pressure him to go a feast in Jerusalem he doesn’t go till three days later (John 7:3-10)
- When Jesus sees loan sharks and hucksters turning his Father’s house into a marketplace and taking advantage of the poor he quietly ponders this and the next day with careful thought and assertive love he makes a whip and drives out the evil men (Mark 11:11, 12:15-17)
- When religious scholars gang up on him with trick questions he smoothly speaks the truth in love (Mark 12:13-17)
- When mobs try to kill him he cooly walks away (Luke 4:29-30; John 10:31, 39)
- When he’s sweating drops of blood in the Garden he finds comfort in God as Abba (Mark 14:36)
- When authorities threaten to crucify him he’s non-defensive and silent (Mark 14:61, 15:5)
- While being tortured to death he lovingly ministers to everyone around him, even his enemies (Luke 23:34, 43)
In all these situations Jesus is relaxed. Wait a minute, I bet your thinking. Jesus wasn’t relaxed when he cleansed the temple of thieves, in the Garden when he sweat drops of blood, or on the cross. And what about when he’s confronting the Pharisees?
Certainly, Jesus has some unrelaxed emotions in these and other situations. Anguish, excruciating pain, overwhelming pressure, anger, and grief are indeed emotions that work against feeling relaxed. But Jesus shows us that even in emotional stress and pain a mature person can flow with divine love, joy, and peace.
The key point is that Jesus doesn’t get anxious (like we often do) from repressing emotions like fear, anger, or sadness, having wishy-washy boundaries, or trying to fit 25 hours into a 24 hour day. These are example of unhealthy anxiety that goes with a lack of trust in God and loving people in the Body of Christ (Matt. 6:25-34, Phil. 4:6).
The few times that you see Jesus experiencing something like anxiety it’s only because it’s natural and healthy to feel a certain fearful and worrisome emotional turmoil in the type of stress overload or traumatic crisis that he’s experiencing.