Michael Youssef - From Depression to Mission
You know, a few weeks ago, I read a news item that said, "Loneliness and Depression: The Next Big Pandemic Health Crisis". Some time ago, an article in "Wall Street Journal" declared that we have a pill for everything, but there is no pill for this current crisis. Depression has now increased, both in the UK and the United States, from around the 20th percentage to way over a third of the population. And there is no pill for that. Breaking news, breaking news, I am here this morning to announce to you on this Resurrection Sunday that there is an absolute cure to all forms of depression.
There is a healing that medicine alone cannot procure. There is a remedy for all of our social ills only if we apply it. It is the resurrected Jesus. It's the resurrected Jesus. For if the Resurrection of Jesus Christ out of the grave on the third day tells us anything, anything today, it tells us that he and he alone can lift up our sagging spirit, that he and he alone can set us free from fear, anxiety that is shackling many alive, that he and he alone can resurrect our depressed emotions, that he and he alone can take helplessness and bring hope, that he and he alone can take us from depression to mission. And that is what I want to talk to you about this morning, from depression to mission.
Turn with me please to Luke 24, beginning at verse 13. There, you'll find two of Jesus's disciples. As a matter of fact, from knowledge of the name of Cleopas, we know that this is actually Jesus's aunt and her husband, Cleopas. And they were going home to Emmaus in utter hopelessness. They had witnessed with their own eyes the crucifixion of Jesus. They saw their hope was dashed on that cross. They saw, and that is why they said, "We had hoped". It's in the past. They're talking about this as it's finished. We had hoped that he is the Messiah. We had hoped that he is the redeemer. We had hoped that he's the deliverer. They saw their dream was dashed on that cross. They saw their future ended on that cross.
So, they waited around for three days, and then they went home to Emmaus depressed. I'm gonna tell you why they waited for three days. They were going home overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness. It's over. These two have loved Jesus. These two have walked with Jesus. These two followed Jesus. These two have placed all of their hope on him as their deliverer, Messiah, and redeemer. But the crucifixion ended all that. And in their fog of depression, in their fog of depression, they could not remember the promise of Jesus that he will rise again. During his public ministry, Jesus, God's Son, only begotten Son in human flesh, told them again and again that he will die for the sin of everyone who will repent and believe in him. That he will die on our behalf and behalf of everyone who will place their sin on him.
But then he said, "I'm gonna rise on the third day". But they've forgotten that part. In fact, the reason why he came from heaven is for this very purpose. The reason he was born of a virgin, the reason he was sinless Son of God is for this very purpose of dying on that cross in order to take on the sin of everyone who will repent and believe in him. That's why he came from heaven. And he told them, "I will rise again to assure every believer of their own resurrection with him in heaven". You see, Jesus spoke plainly. He used agrarian examples. He used illustrations, he used stories, he used parables in order to explain. In fact, he told them and said, "Just like Jonah was buried in the belly of the whale for three days, then came out and continued on his mission, so will the Son of Man will be buried and rise again".
He told them that unless a seed is buried in the ground, it will not grow back up stronger and greater. And he referred that's his death and resurrection. But because they allowed themselves to get into this dark tunnel of depression, they forgot the rest of the story. They forgot the rest of God's plan of salvation. They forgot the important part of the promise. And they got so bogged down in their sorrow and their hopelessness, they were engulfed in it, and they got into this kind of depression for which there is no pill. There is no pill. They got so immersed in the suffering of the cross that they have failed to remember the promise of the resurrection. My friend, I want to tell you fear, which leads to depression, is more contagious than any disease.
And I promise you, the further we depart from Jesus, the further we depart from the Word of God, the further we depart from biblical principles, the more depression we'll experience. It works that way. But there's more. Jesus did not come from heaven just to cure our depression, he came from heaven to redeem us eternally and to assure us of eternal life with him in heaven. That is why he came from heaven. He came from heaven to permanently forgive our sins, the sin of everyone who repents. God the Father raised him from the dead as proof. That's what the Bible said in Acts chapter 17, "The day of ignorance God has overlooked, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent, for he has appointed the day of judgement".
Oh yes, there's a day of judgment coming. He's gonna judge the world by this man, Jesus. And as proof, as proof, he raised him from the dead. I want to tell you three things about what Jesus did with these two disciples in order to deliver them from the misery of depression. Three things that took them from depression to mission. And here's the greatest news of all. It's the most fabulous news you've ever heard in your life. That same resurrected Jesus can do that for you today. First of all, he challenged their false reasoning for depression, their false reasoning. Secondly, Jesus corrected their partial information, which led them to depression. And thirdly, Jesus exchanged their depression with a mission. Let's look at these very quickly.
The resurrected Jesus challenged their reason for depression. There's always a reason for depression. I'm talking about the emotional depression, there's always a reason. Sometimes, the reason is real, other times it's imaginary. Hello. I've been both, in both sides of that. I'm gonna explain more. I wonder how many of us who have got so discouraged at time and got so depressed, only to discover later that the reasoning was just imaginary, it's not true. It's a faulty reasoning. I know I have. I'm talking about this emotional depression that comes from discouragement. I'm not talking about chemical depression or clinical depression. No, no, no, I'm talking about this emotional depression.
Look at Luke 24:13, "These two waited in Jerusalem till the third day". You say, "Why the third day"? I'm gonna tell you why. Because some of the Jewish traditions, not everybody followed it because it's really a myth, it's a mythological story that circulated, obviously invented by some rabbi somewhere sometime, that says that the soul of the deceased hovers around the dead body for three days, then it departs. No biblical evidence to that, no scriptural evidence for that. No, it was just pure speculation. But nonetheless, the reason that if they hang around for three more days, they may see the resurrection. And they heard that the tomb was empty, but they didn't see Jesus. And they didn't see, they were waiting to see what happened, and they didn't see it.
And so, when the third day arrived, they decided to go home and get depressed. Whatever causing you to get down and depressed, whatever causing you discouragement, I want to announce to you this morning on the authority of God's Word and the testimonies of millions of people around the world that the resurrected Jesus is here to challenge the cause of your depression. And these dear people probably like Thomas, they were not there with the disciples when Jesus arrived, and revealed himself to them, and came in their midst while they had all the doors are locked, and terrified in fear that they too gonna die. And Jesus comes in their midst, you know what he said? "Peace".
See, these disciples did not realize that the very cross that was a mallet that shattered their dreams was the very instrument of their redemption. They didn't realize that the pouring of Jesus's blood on that cross, and make no mistake about it, it was violent, it was vile, that this is the only road for the power of the resurrection. They did not realize that the very rugged cross is God's instrument for bringing eternal life to everyone who would believe and place their whole trust in him. That's the very tomb that buried Jesus for three days, is the permanent burial ground for sin, and guilt, and pain, and suffering, and death for everyone who receives him as Savior.
So, the resurrected Jesus, first of all, he challenges their false reasoning. Secondly, the resurrected Jesus corrects their partial information. But I can tell you if you study history, the history of social movement, you find that the most dangerous leaders are those with partial information. Why? Because partial information leads to wrong conclusions. Verse 25, "Jesus said to them, 'How foolish you are, how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have said about, prophesied about me. Did not the Messiah, did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?'" No wonder people are depressed in our culture today. Today, you can have encounter with the resurrected Jesus, and he will give you the whole truth, not partial truth, not half information. He said, "When you believe in me and you believe that I am the truth, that very truth that you believe is gonna set you free. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free".
When you come to realization that Jesus, the only one who can save you eternally, that Jesus is the only one who can assure you of eternal life in heaven with him here and now, that Jesus is the only one who loved you enough to die on that cross for you in order to carry the curse and the wrath of God that is supposed to be ours on his holy shoulders, when you do that, you will go from depression to mission. These two from Emmaus, to them Jesus was saying, "You need to believe the whole truth about Jesus. You need to believe the Bible as God's own Word".
Jesus was saying to these two that had you read the Bible, that's the Old Testament at that time for them, for yourself, had you believed the Bible, that's the Old Testament for them, for yourself, had you not allowed all sorts of false concepts, and false teachings, and false ideas to affect you, you would have known. You would have known what? That the grave could not hold him, that the tomb could not keep him, that he had to conquer death by rising again. Amen, amen. Praise God. He alone, he alone rose from the dead as proof that he's alone the Savior of the world. He alone is God's Messiah. Listen to me. Today, if you read the gospel for yourself, just read it for yourself.
Forget about what Pastor Smellfungus or Dr. Snookum said. I'm telling you don't even, I mean, don't listen to me even. Go and read it for yourself. If you believe the gospel is God's Word, when you surrender your life to him alone, and then you silence all these extraneous voices that surround you, trying to confuse you, you will be eternally saved. Why? Because Jesus knows that partial information are not only gonna deceive you and get you into depression, but it will take you to an eternity of pain and suffering. Come to the only one who claimed to be the way. When he says the way, means the only way. The truth and the life, but no one comes to the Father but through him. Open your heart to the full truth of the resurrected Jesus. For only he can take you from depression to mission.
He challenged their false reasoning, he corrected their partial information. But thirdly, in verses 30 and 31, he led them not only out of depression, but burned their heart with a mission for life. I'm gonna show you. Look at verse 30 and 31. "When he was at the table with them, he took bread, and he gave thanks, and broke it and began to give it to them. Their eyes were opened". It is my prayer that so many spiritual eyes be opened today. "Their eyes were opened and recognized him, and then he left". When you invite the resurrected Jesus as your only Savior and Lord, he does not come and take sides, he takes over. When he came to this house, he was the host. He was not the guest. He's breaking the bread, that's the job of the host in the home. When he comes into your life, he takes over. He transforms you. He brings his joy into your joyless circumstances. He'll bring his victory to your defeated life. He'll bring power to your powerless life. He will come to deliver you from whatever it is that's holding you back.
Look with me please the rest of the passage. Once these two recognize the resurrected Jesus, they moved from fear to courage, they moved from pain to joy, they moved from hopelessness to hope, they moved from defeat to victory, they moved from depression to mission. For they got up, even though it's nighttime. That's a very dangerous road back then. But that didn't matter. They got up, and immediately they walked back the seven-mile trek to Jerusalem. Why? They are now on a mission. They must deliver the good news. They must tell the others the good news. They have seen the risen Lord. They have seen the risen Lord. They've talked to the risen Lord. He walked with them, and he talked with them, and he ministered to them.
You see, when you open your life to the resurrected Jesus, he'll transform your life from depression to mission. It's not just my story, it's millions of people around the world will testify the same way. Verse 27, I left it. I want to come back to it because of the significance. I want to conclude with it. Verse 27, "And beginning with Moses and all of the prophets, he explained to them what was said about him in all of the Scriptures". That is the Old Testament, predicting his coming with meticulous details. Jesus, listen to me, is not just a founder of a religion. No, no, no, no, no, he's the Creator God. Jesus is the only one who rose from the dead, never to die again. Generations have waited thousands of years. They're waiting. That's why Jesus said, "Abraham saw my day and he rejoiced," 2,000 years before Christ. And he was trying to show them in this verse 27 that he is the one who's been predicted, prophesied, and he began to open the Scripture.
Most likely, he would've said to them in Genesis chapter 3 all the way back in the garden of Eden, God the Father talked about God the Son coming. And he said he is the seed of the woman who will crush the serpent's head, and that's Satan. And he did so, praise God on the cross. That he is the suffering servants in the book of Isaiah. That he is the branch of righteousness in the book of Jeremiah. That he is the plant that's giving shade and shedding fragrance in the book of Ezekiel. That he is the one who is the stone that is not cut with hands that smashed the nations in the book of Daniel. That he is the growing lily in the book of Hosea. That he is the hope of all of his people in the book of Joel. That he is the plowman who overcame the reaper in the book of Amos. That he is that deliverer from Mount Zion in the book of Obadiah.
And this is just a partial list. Do you want me to go on? I can go on. No doubt he gave them a complete list. If you accept the invitation of the resurrected Jesus today, if you accept his invitation, he will not only take you from depression to mission for life, but he will continue with you in that mission until you go home and be with him in heaven. Will you come to him? I know deep down, I'm a sinner. I need your salvation, I need your forgiveness. You know what Jesus promised? In the Greek was, he called double negative. He says when you come to him, absolutely no way, no how he'll ever let you go. Isn't that wonderful?