Despite feeling the full range of other human emotions: love, joy, anger, sorrow… Jesus is never said to fear. When I was studying Jesus’s emotions, it struck me as strange. As I dug deeper, this fact changed my life.
We feel fear - and its cousins, worry and anxiety - when we think something bad is going to happen to something we love in the future. My neighbor might not loan me his expensive new red car for fear I might harm it if I drove it. You can fear a snake bite as you pick mangoes. These fears are based on the expectation of harm to a beloved object in the future, whether your car or your health. They are based on knowledge, such as snakes liking mango trees. Feeling fear involves your knowledge, thinking, evaluation, and the values you have.
Jesus’s emotions were colored by his knowledge of two truths.
Jesus knew God’s love and provision for him. At his baptism, the Father fully assured Jesus of his love (Matthew 3:17). When my children were young, I loved to put them on my shoulders. Sometimes I would be a wild rooster, stopping and starting wildly as I squawked around the imaginary yard. An unknown child would be afraid at first, but my kids knew they would never be harmed. Daddy had their legs firmly in his grip. Jesus knows his Father is loving, fully in control, never dropping his child even in a seemingly dangerous situation.
Second, Jesus knew everything would turn out well. He knew his good Father had a good future in mind for him no matter what his circumstances (Romans 8:28). Even when Jesus felt unimaginable sorrow and agony in the garden of Gethsemane, we are never told this was fear. He fully felt the pain he was about to face, but he surrendered to God’s will (Luke 22:42-44). He fearlessly faced even the horror of the cross because he knew God’s plan was sure and God’s love was unshakable.
Without Jesus’s perfect knowledge and eternal relationship with the Father, we cannot expect never to fear. But as our knowledge of God’s loving plan works its way into our hearts, it will calm our fears and worries.
Recall a time you were afraid and God worked for your good. Praise him for his provision.