Jn. 12:35-43




1.  Fear is the most disturbing emotion.  It can destroy our composure, cloud our logic, and throw us off balance until we do not know what to do.

2.  It will cause us to abandon our children, hide the truth and compromise ourselves ethically.

3.  It will cause you to wet your pants, mess your pants, and even throw up.

4.  We may laugh at the other person’s fears, but when fear strikes us, we cannot laugh.

5.  What can we do to control it?  How can we experience fear and yet not react so that we violate our faith?




I.  Fear is a very powerful force.


   A.  Illustration:  5-year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper.  

        She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he 

        didn’t want to go in alone.  “It’s dark in there and I’m scared,” he said.  She 

        asked again and he persisted.  Finally, she said, “It’s OK—Jesus will be in there

        with you.”  Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it.  He 

        peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea

        came, and he said: “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of 

        tomato soup?”  (Charles Allen, Victory in the Valleys).

  B.  During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced

        many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin.  Once, as he censured Stalin

        in a public meeting, a heckler shouted from the audience.  “You were one of 

        Stalin’s colleagues.  Why didn’t you stop him?”   Who said that roared

        Khrushchev.  An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a 

        muscle.  Then Khrushchev replied quietly, “Now you know why” (Today in the 

        Word, July 13, 1993).

  C.  In John 9 the parents of the blind man abandoned loyalty to their son for fear of 

       being put out of the synagogue (20-23).

  D.  Nicodemus, a ruler, and teacher of Israel was afraid and hid the truth of his belief

       in Jesus.  He came to Him under the cloak of darkness (Jn. 3; 19:39).

  E.  Joseph of Arimathea, was a rich man and probably very powerful, but he was a 

         disciple of Jesus secretly for fear of the Jews (Jn. 19:38).

    F.  John recognized the fear in all these individuals, but he saw something different

        in Jesus.

         1.  John, along with the other disciples knew what was up for Jesus in Jerusalem 

             (Jn. 11:16).  John saw something different in Jesus and in Thomas than he 

             saw in those dominated by fear.

         2.  He observed Jesus troubled as He predicted His coming death in Jerusalem 

             (Jn. 12:23-28a).

         3.  John observed how Jesus moved deliberately to the crucifixion.  When they 

             came to take Him in the garden John noted that Jesus approached those who

             intended to destroy Him (Jn. 18:1-11).  He said, “They drew back and fell to 

             the ground.”

        4.  John noticed how Jesus had prepared His disciples for what was to come.

             a.  Predicted His death (Jn. 13:27ff).

             b.  Predicted the betrayal by Judas (Jn. 13:21ff).

             c.  Tried to comfort them (Jn. 14:1-4).

             d.  Predicted that the Jews would make them outcasts of the synagogue and 

                 would even kill them thinking they were doing service to God (Jn. 16:2).

    G.  John knows the power of fear.  You do too.  You have seen it in others and you

          have experienced it.


II.  Responding appropriately.


    A.  John knows the power of fear (cf. Jn. 13:37-38; 18:25-27), but he is a witness to 

         how to respond to it appropriately.

   B.  He has seen it in Jesus.

   C.  He knows that experiencing a troubled soul is normal (Jn. 12:27).

         1.  Many people make the mistake of thinking that if you are troubled, anxious, 

              emotionally disturbed that this is a sign you are fearful.  That it is a sign you 

              are weak; a sign that you are unable to handle fear well.

         2.  Lk. 22:44 describes Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying.  Luke says, 

              “Being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like 

              drops of blood falling down upon the ground.”

         3.  Such emotion did not paralyze Jesus.  He did not compromise His ethics.  He did 

              not hide from the truth.  He did not abandon His loyalties.  He did not seek to 

              keep His relationship with God a secret.

         4.  During WW II, a military governor met with Gen. Patton in Silicy. He praised

              Patton for his bravery.  Patton said, “Sir, I am not a brave man . . .  The truth 

              is, I am an utter craven coward.  I have never been within the sound of 

               gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn’t so scared that I had

               sweat in the palm of my hands.”  Years later when Patton’s autobiography 

               was published, Patton stated:  “I learned very early in my life never to take 

               counsel of my fears” (unknown source).  What Patton was saying is that

               although he looked fear in the face, he did not always do what fear

               counseled him to do.  Folks that is bravery.  That is courage.  That’s what

               John saw in Jesus.  It is not what he saw in the parents of the blind man.  It 

               is not what he saw in Nicodemus.  It is not what he saw in Joseph of 


          D.  So how do I respond to control fear?  How can I channel the fear into

                positive action?

                1.  Let right control your fear (Jn. 12:43).

                2.  Let the approval of God be your counsel, not the approval of men.

                3.  Remember your purpose (Jn. 12:27).

                4.  You are not going to get out of this war with the devil alive (Jn. 12:23-26).

                5.  You must take up your cross if you are going to follow the Lord (Jn. 


                6.  There is help.

                     a.  Jesus comforted His disciples.

                     b.  He promised the Holy Spirit to comfort them.

                     c.  God sent an angel to comfort Jesus in Gethsemane.

                     d.  “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what will man do to me?” 

                          (Heb. 13:6).


III.  Jesus glorified the Father, and the Father glorified Him (Jn. 12:27-28).


     A.  Jesus did not take counsel from fear.  He took counsel from the Father.  It is our

          faith in Him that gives us courage.  

     B.  There are challenges.  Fearful challenges.

           1.  “I don’t want to be afraid.”  “I don’t like it.”

           2.  John says, “I know.”  Jesus says, “I know.”  The Father says, “I know.”

           3.  But then we do not walk by sight.  Nor do we walk by fear.  We walk by 


     C.  In faith glorify the Father and the Father will glorify you.




1.  Are you walking by fear?

2.  Is fear keeping you from becoming a Christian?

3.  Is fear keeping you from doing what the Lord wants?

4.  John knew what it meant to give his life into the control of the Father.  He had seen Jesus do it.  It was Jesus, who wrote through John, to the church at Smyrna, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).



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