Fear Not: Jesus and the Disciples

Fear Not: Jesus and the Disciples

Fear Not: Jesus and the Disciples.

“Don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body, they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows- one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid, you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (Matthew 10:26-31, NLT).

These encouraging words of Jesus form a part of His charge to His disciples as He sent them out on their own, with the Holy Spirit, to do God’s work in ministry to the surrounding towns and villages of Israel. Jesus is asking them to preach the Kingdom of God, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. They are expected to duplicate everything that Jesus Himself is doing. Jesus sends them out as sheep in the midst of wolves, and expects them to be as shrewd as snakes and as harmless and innocent as doves. He told them to expect opposition, but don’t be fearful or intimidated by it. Bullies, the wolves of the world, can not touch your soul. Your whole life – body and soul – is in God’s hands.

Your soul is safe from those who wish you ill. They have no power over that immortal aspect of your self. Instead, develop a holy fear, a trusting reverence and respectful awe, for God, who alone has power over your body and soul. But God is compassionate, and cares for every sparrow and notices every hair on your head. He will carefully watch over your soul because of your infinite value to Him. So don’t be afraid of your dignity and value as a person before God. Each person, each believer, has unlimited significance in the eyes of God. Just because He is able to destroy both body and soul, doesn’t mean that He will. Have no fear. Trust in His goodness and love as you follow Him.

Another Thought: Fear of Opposition. “Three times Jesus told His disciples not to be afraid. When we listen to the words of Jesus, we know they are for us, and we’re delighted that they are for us. But we also know they’re going to demand that we grow up, that we be fully human before God, and that for reasons we never quite comprehend, the majority of the people around us are not going to be enthusiastic about it. We know we’re called to be disciples, but the opposition unnerves us. Jesus interrupts our anxiety and says, ‘Don’t be afraid. Don’t let what you suppose to be dangers frighten you; don’t let your minority status bother you. God doesn’t run the world by majority vote.’ We’re afraid that we’re in a country that’s too large for us, and too dangerous. We’re afraid that we’re not up to it – the love we’re called to give, the suffering we’re expected to endure, the opposition we’re forced to face. And our fears close us in. They lock the doors and shut the windows of life so that we huddle within ourselves, trying to make our lives safe and secure. Listening to the words of Jesus as words to you and me, we realize our identity as disciples and all that He wants us to experience. There’s so much to see, so many people to love, such a marvelous Lord to worship. And nothing to fear.”  (Eugene Peterson, from a sermon).