Ecstasy

Saturday, November 20, 2021

“And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment” (Mark 5:42 KJV).

“Ecstasy” is “an overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement.” (Of course, it lends its name to the illegal drug that causes these effects.) It is also “a spiritual trance-like state.” This word is from the Greek “ekstasis,” literally meaning “standing out oneself” (a displacement of the mind). Our Authorized Version translators rendered it various ways.

The first instance is today’s Scripture: “And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment [“ekstasis”].” The Lord Jesus had raised Jairus’ little girl from the dead—and such fear and wonderment, joy and excitement, would cause anyone to stand out their mind! Upon learning from the angel that Jesus had resurrected, “And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed [“ekstasis”]: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). These women could not believe it!

When Christ healed the “man taken with a palsy” (paralytic), the Bible remarks: “And they were all amazed [“ekstasis”], and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day” (Luke 5:26). Again, the bewilderment or awe was mind-boggling! The Apostles Peter and John, heading to pray at the Jerusalem Temple, encountered a 40-year-old lame man crippled from birth. In the name of Jesus Christ, Peter heals him: “And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement [“ekstasis”] at that which had happened unto him.” The crowds are stupefied!

As the Lord prepares Peter to preach to Gentile Cornelius, the Apostle beholds an extraordinary sight and hears startling words in a vision: “And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance [“ekstasis”],…” (Acts 10:10; cf. Acts 11:5). Lastly, as Christ readies the Apostle Paul for his ministry, “And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance [“ekstasis”];…” (Acts 22:17).