The root of all fear is the fear of death. When we become unafraid to die, we become unafraid to live. John the Apostle, writing in the book of Revelations, saw a time when Christians would not fear anything—especially death. He wrote: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelations 12:11)
Many people are imprisoned in the cage of the fear of death. Some people are better at hiding it than others. But the truth is, everyone fears death at some level. Why? Because we all hate pain. No one likes to suffer. We all want pain removed from our lives. Pain involves discomfort and agony. Jesus, in the waining moments before the crucifixion, was in the garden of Gethsemane. Here is what he prayed regarding the pain he was about to face:
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” …Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground…
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand. (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:41-44)
Even Jesus didn’t want to suffer unnecessarily. But the pain he endured was the key to unlocking the life we now get to live. ““Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.” (Timothy Keller) All will be required to face that fear of death at some point. But here is a fact: death reveals that we all want to believe in a god. There are no atheist on death beds nor in fox holes. When people glimpse eternity, they realize there is a God.
And God is here to help us. We need to understand: we are the chosen ones. We are the one’s God has chosen to help and aid. Not the angels. We were created in his image and his likeness. He sent his son to help us. We are the ones that get grace, salvation and redemption. Not the angels. We get grace because of Christ.
Jesus perfectly identifies with your life and your needs and who you are. He knows what we feel because he felt it. He suffered as we suffered. Don’t tell someone that is suffering that you know how they feel unless you have had a common experience. You can’t really feel the pain they do. But you can feel love and compassion for them. We can’t identify with someone else unless we have a common experience. Jesus knew this. So he came down and lived like us and told the Father what we are going through—he went through it. He was tempted like us and without sin.