Presented by Niánn Emerson Chase
to members and guests of Global Community Communications Church at a World-Wide Sunday Service
Throughout my life I have observed bright and gifted individuals never really manifest much of their potential because they are afraid. I’ve seen people literally fold up into little psychological balls because of their fear. What do they fear? They fear many things: failure, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, ridicule, being wrong, being ostracized, losing their identity, growing old, and dying. Some fear the uncertainty of the unknown or any kind of major change in their lives; they want everything to stay very much the same. The URANTIA Book has much to say about fear, but I want to briefly focus on two fearful people whom Jesus encountered.
Fortune, the Young Man Who Was Afraid
Jesus was twenty-nine years old at the time and had not yet gone into His public ministry. He had spent a couple of years traveling with a father and seventeen-year-old son from India Gonod and Ganid. This particular day Jesus and young Ganid were walking in some mountains in Crete when they met up with a troubled youth named Fortune who was seeking the solitude of the hills. Fortune was probably near Ganid’s age and was a loner, having difficulty socializing with other people. Words used to describe this teen-ager are: downcast, fearful, having a sense of helplessness and inferiority, experiencing discouragement and despair.
The URANTIA Book indicates that these states of mind are natural tendencies for human beings on this world, especially if augmented by difficult circumstances. This youth had already encountered his own set of challenges including a troubled home with no father who had died when Fortune was twelve years old. Jesus, in His compassion and discernment, immediately recognized Fortune’s distress and, realizing the youth’s need for counsel and encouragement, struck up a conversation with him. Jesus also discerned the potential for Fortune to make a shift in his fearful mindset because the youth wanted help; he wanted to change, to be rehabilitated, to be reborn. So Jesus first asked Fortune some questions about trails in the area, providing an opportunity for the youth to relax and become comfortable with the situation. After a bit Fortune opened up to Jesus and was receptive to learning from Him. This teen recognized that Jesus was a man of love and wisdom and knelt at His feet imploring Jesus to help him, to show him the way of escape from his world of personal sorrow and defeat.
Jesus’ response to Fortune and to the rest of us when we are wallowing in our own despair and discouragement was: My friend, arise! Stand up like a man [or woman]! You may be surrounded with small enemies and be retarded by many obstacles, but the big things and the real things of this world and the universe are on your side. Right there Jesus put things in their perspective from a cosmic point of view. He asked Fortune to rise up out of his smallness and make his perspective much bigger. Get out of self and into a planetary and universal viewpoint.
Jesus asked Fortune, and all of us, to see those things that we fear as small in the light of universal and cosmic truths. It’s a mind shift, an adjustment of how we think and see reality. It’s a mind expansion.
Where do we get that expanded and cosmic perspective today? I think the highest and most comprehensive perspective is from the Fifth Epochal Revelation (found in The URANTIA Book) and Continuing Fifth Epochal Revelation (much of which is found in The Cosmic Family volumes) and from our own personal experiences with the spirit of God. There are, of course, many other sources that can expand our minds and aid us in our understanding of reality and spiritual unfolding, but they are not epochal revelation and do not reveal as much cosmic fact and truth as does epochal revelation. Epochal revelation does not belong to any one religion; it belongs to all people of all religions, races, and cultures and is applicable for many epochs into the future.
Jesus pointed out to Fortune that he was blessed with a good mind and an exceptionally healthy and strong body. He advised him to use his body and mind to solve his problems, to change his situation. He said to Fortune:
You are trying to run away from your unhappy self, but it cannot be done. You and your problems of living are real; you cannot escape them as long as you live . . . . Set your mind at work to solve its problems; teach your intellect to work for you; refuse longer to be dominated by fear like an unthinking animal. Your mind should be your courageous ally in the solution of your life problems rather than your being, as you have been, its abject fear-slave and the bond servant of depression and defeat.
Jesus challenged Fortune to make a major mind shift out of self-pity, fear, and selfishness into a consideration for others, a selflessness. Jesus said: Sit down with me while I tell you of the service trails and happiness highways which lead from the sorrows of self to the joys of loving activities in the brother-/sisterhood of humans and in the service of the God of heaven. He brought God in. He brought service to others into that conversation.
Are we willing to sit down with Jesus, Christ Michael, moment to moment, if He calls us to listen to His spirit and move out of our own personal doldrums? Jesus said to Fortune:
This day, my son, you are to be reborn, re-established as a man of faith, courage, and devoted service to others, for God’s sake. And when you become so readjusted to life within yourself, you become likewise readjusted to the universe; you have been born again born of the spirit and henceforth will your whole life become one of victorious accomplishment. Trouble will invigorate you; disappointment will spur you on; difficulties will challenge you; and obstacles will stimulate you.
Let us take those words to heart and apply them when in our moments of despair, fear, self-pity, and discouragement. We too can take on that higher mindset. Jesus is not saying that once we get into the program of mind expansion that we’re not going to have difficulties, problems, or troubles. It’s how we respond to them and how we perceive them.
Jesus went on to say to this troubled youth:
Arise, young man! Say farewell to the life of cringing fear and fleeing cowardice. Hasten back to duty and live your life in the flesh as a son of God, a mortal dedicated to the ennobling service of others on earth and destined to the superb and eternal service of God in eternity.
Interestingly, The URANTIA Book often refers to that Fragment of the Father, the spirit of God within us, as the Thought Adjuster. This Fragment of the Father can help adjust our thoughts. Remember, Jesus admonished Fortune to use his mind, his intellect, in a higher way. Thoughts reside within our minds; attitudes are in our intellects, and often it’s what’s in our heads, what’s between our ears, that causes us most of our stress and distress.
By the way, Fortune took to heart Jesus’ counsel and changed, and eventually he became the leader of the Christians in Crete and a powerful change agent for Christ Michael.
Annas, the High Priest Who Was Afraid
Another fearful person Jesus encountered was Annas, a one-time high priest and relative of Zebedee’s wife. Annas had been a friend of Jesus in years prior to His public ministry. Now, full into His public ministry and a very controversial public figure, Jesus, while visiting Jerusalem, went to His former friend’s house for a visit. Annas had been hearing about Jesus’ teachings and was cautious and fearful when Jesus visited him. He’d heard the gossip and negative things said about Jesus and so received Jesus with much reserve and coldness, which Jesus, of course, immediately discerned. As a result, Jesus chose to not spend any time with him, for He knew that Annas was too fearful and prideful, wanting to hang on to his status and his ideas. The Master realized that Annas wouldn’t have the courage and conviction to stand by the controversial figure of Jesus who challenged so much of the status quo. In departing, Jesus said to Annas: Fear is a person’s chief enslaver and pride his great weakness. Will you betray yourself into bondage to both of these destroyers of joy and liberty?
I close with this question: When in our fearful states, which one of these two people are we? Are we the one who is humble and childlike (not childish but childlike), realizing that we are an ascending son or daughter of God and open to upliftment from the Thought Adjuster as well as from human spiritual elders, willing to change within us what needs to be changed so that we can rise up out of the muck and mire of our lower minds into the higher self of service and joy? Or are we the one who is so caught up with the smallness of social and political requirements and our own fears and petty pride that we refuse to be reconciled, rehabilitated, and reborn?
- Posted in Global Change Teachings