No Fear Jesus

No Fear Jesus January 14, 2014

no fear jesus cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

Buy a reproduction of this drawing!

This doesn’t mean Jesus wasn’t afraid. Fear is natural. What he is saying is that he didn’t allow his fear to rule over him. Didn’t the theologian Karl Barth say “Courage is fear getting back in the saddle”? Or was that John Wayne?

That’s the trick, isn’t it?

I love the courage of my friends at The Lasting Supper. Come join us.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Whether Jesus was brave or not is unclear to me.

    First, we have to decide if the gospels are consistent.

    If so, then we have a confusing story.

    If not, the we have different Jesuses. (I vote for the later)

    In Mark’s story, he has Jesus beg that he not be crucified.

    That seems extremely cowardly to me. Why? Well,

    think of the guys that ran into 911 tower to save on a few people yet knew their lives were risked. They were brave.

    Jesus knew he was saving all of humanity and he simpered even though he knew he would be brought back to life whereas the firefighters had no such assurance.

    Many progressive Christians ignore the inconvenient stories that don’t match the way they want to envision Jesus. That is fine. It seems the gospel writers did the same thing.

    See my post: “Was Jesus a Coward

    Fantasizing about Jesus totally unruled by his fears is similar to Christians who make Jesus say we have to hit our kids or give up all our possessions. Time to give up on using Jesus as a puppet, in my opinion.

  • J. Polanco

    I see what you’re saying because he fearlessly opposed the mendacious and ungodly religious leaders of his time at the cost of his very own life …

  • Jon Fermin

    I would contend a contrary, Jesus was more courageous for expressing His own temptation to abandon the cross and then reject that temptation than to have suffered no temptation at all. It is a demonstration of His full humanity at work with His full divinity. This private encounter in Gethsemane is a lesson which teaches that courage is not in the accomplishment of great feats without fear, it is the accomplishment of great feats despite fear. While I do agree with you on the point that many progressive Christians DO ignore inconvenient stories that do not match how they envision Jesus, I think your comment is only applicable to the text in this cartoon being ascribed to Jesus, and not to the events in Mark’s Gospel you allude to.

  • So, imagine a firefighter kneeling and begging god not to send him into the fire while all his brothers run in without hesitation around him.

    Tell me again who is braver.

    Sounds like you have pre-determined your version of Jesus to be a brave hero, all-loving and such before you even read the text.

  • Marsha Miller

    but a firefighter doesn’t know he is going to die in any given fire… he might, but in most cases, he won’t. he will be a hero regardless. Jesus knew his fear and still went ahead with what lay before him and my guess is that firefighters (and policemen) beg for their lives too… doesn’t make them cowards, only intelligent enough to know what they face… the courage is in the doing in spite of their fear, just as with Jesus… it was the human part of him that feared… sounds like you have a pre-determined version of Jesus.

  • Jon Fermin

    your analogy incomplete. it begs questions which need answers in order to provide a reasonable answer to the scenario. first what does the firefighter do AFTER begging God not to go into the fire. second, what is the state of mind of the other firefighters? are any of them suicidal? unfeeling? do any of them get off on the adrenaline high that comes from dangerous situations? or are they just as scared as the other fireman but expressed it in a different way like praying while running? are they not aware of something the first fireman is aware of, like the fire being much more dangerous than it appears? any number of states of mind could be at play when asking this question, unlike the example with Jesus, in which one can reasonably assume the content of His prayer accurately portrays His state of mind, thus showing that His bravery comes despite His fears.

  • There are many example of people who went forward into obvious self-sacrifice (death) without the least bit of pleading.

    My charge remains: You imagine who you want your Jesus to be, and read the text accordingly.

  • All analogies are incomplete.

    If you want Jesus to be brave, have perfect knowledge, be perfectly loving and just an all-around wonderful guy, please do.

  • Jon Fermin

    while it is true all analogies are incomplete, your fireman analogy also has the condition of being insufficient to demonstrate your own premise. your argument is logically weak and the conclusions drawn from it are unsubstantiated. you will need to provide more information for it to be at least one that others can draw some sort of logical conclusion from, either through specifics or some sort of generality which would account for the missing information in your thought experiment. if you can account for the gaps which I had brought up earlier, then one could try to come to some sort of logical response, but until then it remains insufficient.

  • I think you are wrong. And your gross claims don’t aid your contention at all.
    You see what you want to see. You rationalize (or attempt to) your preference.
    I’m calling it a night — don’t want fruitless conversations.

  • Jon Fermin

    that is your opinion, I’ll prove it through abstraction that your analogy is incomplete.

    imagine the following math problem:
    3 + X = 5
    and then follow it with this problem
    is 3 >, 2 is the same in this scenario as 3>X.

    this is a complete scenario. it provides enough information to logically come to the conclusion that 3 > X.

    here is Jesus, here is his state of mind expressed by his response, here is his action following this response.

    your firefighter analogy is like the following problem.

    X + Y = 5
    followed by: is X >, Y.

    it may be true that X > Y but how can you tell?

    does the problem disclose that both numbers are integers, therefore removing the possibility that X=Y?

    does the problem disclose that X is an odd, non-prime integer therefore removing the possibility that Y > X?

    does the problem say the inverse, that it is Y that is an odd, non-prime integer meaning that conclusively X>Y?

    your analogy does none of these things, therefore making it impossible to determine logically which number is greater or equal or in your analogy, who is braver than who.

    you may disagree with my response thus far, but it has been nothing if not a demonstrably logical refutation. you may feel that I am wrong but I would ask you please, prove it.

  • Improve my analogy as you like to improve the ,= options. It is easy but I won’t spin my wheels doing it for you.

    Depending on your theology (and Christians have tons of varieties) your take on the Christian anthology again, lots there), many take Jesus to be fully a theist god (all knowing [g-John loved that image], all powerful, ability to wrought any miracle he wants. AND, he was incarnated (apparently) to save everyone from eternal damnation. So if he knew all that, had all that assurance and was all that powerful, knowing his wonderful future of sitting on a throne with all you guys bowing and singing songs to him. Then, he was rather pathetic and cowardly in his last days according to some of the gospel stories. Why? Because they turned him into an all powerful, all knowing god after he died and so the contradiction shows.

    Read the gospels one at a time without blending them in your head and forgetting convenient stuff and it is apparent. Well, unless you’ve already dreamt up your Jesus and then it may not be clear.

  • Jon Fermin

    the answer to that is the incarnation itself,that Christ would take upon himself humanity and the pains and struggles of the human condition, including the pains of death. Christ was fully Human AND fully divine, this itself a universal Christian doctrine. His divinity in no way overshadows his humanity they exist in complete fullness.

    Even if one had full assurance that one’s actions in the present assure future beneficial outcome does not automatically assure that the fear of having to act on it in the present would not offer a temptation to divert one’s course. Say for example a patient in a remote location must undergo surgery without anesthesia, but with (for the sake of argument) the assurance that he will prevent his own death by undergoing great pains and also assuming that (for the sake of argument) he values his own life over and above any pain he may experience in this life. His assurance does not assume he will be unafraid to undergo the treatment, it may even mean he might refuse it irrationally because of fear. his bravery comes not entirely from his own knowledge, but rather his ability to push past the temptation of cowardice. this is an example of bravery.

    likewise, even if Jesus had perfect knowledge of the consequences of His actions, as being fully human in addition to His divinity He would experience fear and temptation. rather than act in accordance with the temptation to escape the cross, He reaffirms the will of God the Father. in essence, in addition to being an individual act of bravery in overcoming a temptation, it also serves as a template for others in the practice of bravery as well.

    you asked me how could one improve your analogy of the firefighters, I had told you in previous posts that you would need to set a baseline for the state of mind of the firefighters, and the extent of their knowledge of this situation and their reaction to the response they have given to the event. assuming their state of mind is one of typical sanity and the extent of their knowledge being equal, I would posit that the firefighter who faces doubts and pushes past those doubts to fulfill his role as a firefighter is braver than the one that never faced those doubts. I argue because unlike the others who face only the fire, the one who overcomes doubt must also overcome himself, increasing the challenge of the situation. likewise, in the garden of gethsemane, Jesus provides the model for overcoming the temptation of cowardice which humanity suffers. therefore even if you wish to say it is brave or not, like all events following the incarnation, they are not accomplished for the sake of God who has accomplished them, but for humanity which may be edified by them.

  • Stan Theman

    You have to prove to me that this man actually existed.
    Other than that, you might as well worship Frodo or Gilgamesh or Spartacus.

  • Stan Theman

    Did you do the drawings or is there an unacknowledged 9 year-old somewhere?
    Cause I’m not paying a dime for this, even without the vapid, simpering primness PC-messages attached with all the subtlety of a nail gun.

  • “…I.N.R.I…Initiate Nail Removal Immediately?”
    ~Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

  • Gary

    Actually…I don’t think any of us “have to prove” anything to you to simply express a view or make a statement. Especially when you start right out with insulting and arrogant derision.

  • Don13

    Sabio, i was a firefighter. you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about whether you could die (or be hurt for that matter) when you’re on your way to a call. oftentimes you’re very excited about what you’re about to do…Jesus’ passions were obeying The Father & loving us. He did have His whole life to think about His eventual death & it was no ordinary death. (1) crucifixion is considered to be one of the absolute worst ways a person could be murdered. (2) He took on the sins of the world! i don’t know if you’ve ever felt the weight of your sins/mistakes but imagine taking ALL of that for EVERY person past, present & future. that would be a weight worse than even crucifixion…as a man, why would it be awful for Him to feel that doubt & fear? to express it to His Abba? He obeyed. He did it b/c of His love for The Father as well as for us…

  • A theology needing a god to be tortured for other people’s wrong doings is bizarre. Sorry, can’t buy Jesus suffering for all our sins. Mind you, I use to agree, but no longer.
    There are all sorts of atonement theologies — the one you tell us about is one of the most horrible, in my opinion. Not that it matters — I am just a former-Christian atheist.

  • Don13

    i get that it can be tough to believe/understand. i struggle w/ plenty of doubts despite my faith…

  • Yeah, understanding Aztec blood sacrifices to their gods was tough to believe too — wait, just like the Yahweh stories, I it is not tough at all. Nonsense in my book, not “tough”.

  • Don13

    except that i’m pretty sure that the Aztec people that were being sacrificed were not doing so willingly…please understand that i’m not attempting to be combative in any way. i guess we disagree…

  • You see, Don, some ideas are combative by nature. Any idea which supports exclusivism is, by definition, combative. So if people have to believe your story or else they go to hell, then that is combative. It is combative theology.

    And any theology says that instead of forgiving, a deity demands death, that is a dangerous, combative theology.

    Remember also, Jesus begged, in the story, to not save all mankind. Curious what his dad said to talk him back into it. I guess among the gods, “No” doesn’t mean “No”.

  • Don13

    Jesus theology was/is inclusive. ALL are welcome…i don’t know if people spend eternity in hell or not. maybe God ultimately chooses to bring everyone to Himself in the end. whether they chose Him while here on Earth or not…btw, Jesus didn’t beg to not save mankind. He asked The Father if there was another way…

  • There are many Christian atonement theologies.
    Some are exclusive, some are inclusive.
    If Jesus was God, how he not know that there was no other way but allowing himself to be killed.
    Well, not really killed, because he knew in three days he was on his celestial throne livin’ it up again with Dad.

  • Don13

    you’re approaching this subject from the perspective that Jesus was only a man. hence, His doubt & fear about the Cross. i believe He was fully God & fully man. why are you so opposed to that perspective? i certainly don’t have all the answers & have asked many a question during my journey…i choose to take it on faith at this point…

  • Are you opposed to Krishna being fully God & fully man? Or are you against considering Rama to be fully God & man? If not, why are you opposed to that perspective?

  • Don13

    no, i don’t believe that Krishna or Rama are God…i believe Jesus is Lord. i’ve questioned it. doubted it. wondered about it but in my heart it’s simply what i believe. sometimes i feel it & sometimes i choose it…i don’t have a better answer than that…