Every era has its problems when it comes to knowing Jesus. One of ours is this: Having lost all confidence in the noble, the heroic, even the consistently good, we have come to celebrate the neurotic. Really. The heroes of our novels and movies are antiheroes, broken characters riddled with addiction and self-doubt. In fact, doubt—masquerading as humility—has become a condition for acceptance in our times. People of strong conviction and bold claims are suspect. We fear them. They might be a terrorist, or a Christian. Skepticism has become a virtue.
This has quietly shaped a popular version of Jesus as a man not so much heroic as humanitarian, not a warrior operating behind enemy lines but just a humble man trying to do good in a hurting world. A man stuck in his personal Gethsemane. If he is doubting and uncertain, we feel better about ourselves. Now yes, yes—Jesus had his dark night of the soul. He didn’t live there, nor did he stay there. It was an abyss through which he passed. Through which he was able to pass, because of something much deeper within him.