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Did Jesus Experience Fear?

One of the most common emotions I see among clients is fear — fear concerning a job, a medical condition, a family member, a financial problem, a legal problem, the state of our economy, the state of our culture.

Fear often leads to worry, anxiety, despair, anger, and/or panic.  The word “fear” is defined as “anxious concern” or “an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.”

Do you think Jesus ever experienced fear while He was on this Earth?  Before that question can be answered, a different question must first be addressed: Prior to His crucifixion, was Jesus capable of experiencing fear in the same way we experience fear?

We know that although Jesus is one person, He possesses two natures — one divine and one human.  Prior to the incarnation, Jesus was a divine person with a divine nature.  When He was conceived in the womb of Mary, He “became flesh” and took on an additional (human) nature.  As a human, Jesus was capable of experiencing the same emotions you and I experience.

Did Jesus ever experience “anxious concern” or “an unpleasant or strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”?  Yes, He did.  It happened while He was praying in the garden of Gethsemane.  As He contemplated what He was going to have to go through to redeem man, He sweat blood from the pores of His face.  We refer to the mental and spiritual suffering that He went through at that time as “the agony in the garden.”

What did Jesus do in response to the anguish He was going through?  He prayed to His Father in heaven, “If it is thy will, remove this cup from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.”  (Luke 22:42)

We can learn how to deal with fear from the example of Jesus.  In addition to praying for relief from what is tormenting us, we need to also be willing to completely surrender ourselves to God.  The word “surrender” is defined as “the action of yielding one’s person or giving up the possession of something, especially into the power of another.”  Another word for surrender is “abandonment,” which is defined as “giving up to the control or influence of another person or agent.”

It is extremely difficult for a person to completely surrender and abandon himself or herself to the will of God.  To do so requires great humility and courage.  Yet it is the only true remedy to the fear and anxiety we often feel in today’s chaotic world.

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2 Responses to “Did Jesus Experience Fear?”

  1. Sister Roberta Houlihan, C.S.J. Says:

    Dear Harry and Georgette –
    What a beautiful and yet simple explanation of FEAR and how to cope with [handle] it. Had time this week – no access to emails! – to re-read some of the “booklets” you’ve been having sent to me. They are always refreshing!!!
    Blessings, prayers and love, Sister Roberta

  2. Harry Says:

    Sister Roberta,

    Thanks again for your comments and support. Everything’s going well for us here in Peoria. I hope all is going well for you and your sister, Mary.

    Take care,


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