Was Jesus Ever Afraid?

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In family devotions the other evening I was reading and was struck by the words in Mark 12.12 where the Pharisees “feared the people for they understood that He spoke the parable against them”. Jesus tells a parable that indicts the Pharisees persistent disregard for the glory of God. Christ even connected their resistence to the divine will with all of those in their demonic family tree who have likewise desired the silencing of truth even by execution.

This struck me as I considered that while fear and being afraid are all over the Bible these terms are never used to describe Jesus. Where or when was Jesus ever afraid? We never learn of the Savior expressing his concern over what will happen or will not happen and never anxious or worrying about potential reactions of others.

Why?

It is simple: dependence. Christ, himself being God, expressed and demonstrated the model for humanity in his complete confidence, trust and dependence in God, specifically the sovereignty & goodness of God.

Jesus knew and lived like he believed that God is sovereign over everything; there is nothing that surprises or unsettles God. Even in the Garden we see Christ pouring out his heart to the Father, proclaiming his commitment to and confidence in God. He marched with resolve to Calvary without being afraid of men or circumstances. Why? Because he knew that God is sovereign. Consider what he told Pilate: “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above…(John 19.11).

In a similar vein Psalm 115:3 says, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” God is in control, he has power, he has something to get done and he gets it done!! God’s ultimate will cannot be hijacked. Jesus knew this so he lived this.

Jesus also knew that God is good. Not only is he all powerful but he is also good, even being the very picture and standard of goodness. It would be one thing to be sovereign and powerful but also bad or evil. We have seen this in dictators. This is not comforting at all but instead is fearful. But with God we have a Sovereign who is “good and does good” (Ps. 119.68). God’s goodness reflects his heart and is representative of his glory:

In Exodus 33 Moses asked to see God’s glory and what did God say? “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you…” Moses wants to see God’s glory and God reveals his goodness.

So why do we fear? Why do we get anxious or afraid? If we are to be like Jesus then should we not be fasting from fear?

In Matthew (6.25-34) Jesus commands his followers not to worry. He even goes so far as to say that worrying is a characteristic of an unbeliever (32).

We are to fear God (know who he is and respond accordingly) so that we will not fear man or life!

Why shouldn’t we worry? For the same reason that Jesus did not worry or fear, God is sovereign and good. Our reactions of fear and worry are no less than a disagreement with the qualifications and/or the faithfulness of God. We are basically saying, “Oh no! What will I do? What can I do? What is going to happen to me?”

Do you see the independence in these statements?

Instead we should be saying, “Oh man, this is tough. Lord how are you in your sovereignty going to work this out? I trust you. You are good and do good. It is not my will that I submit to, but yours Father. I am so glad that you are good and do good, that you are sovereign over my life. Glorify yourself!”

Delight yourself in the supremacy and sufficiency of God. This brings him pleasure.

You and I can literally wake up and take a deep breath and pray, “Father, I know you are sovereign over this day, that you will give me both bread and circumstance today, that you are willing and able to bring me through these things in accordance to your goodness. So therefore Father, be glorified in me today and help me to trust in you and your character like Jesus did. Make me more dependent like Jesus.”

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba Father!”

Growing in my own confidence of God’s ability,

//erik

 

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