Do Not Be Afraid
“Do not be afraid” – the angel said to Mary.
“Do not be afraid” – the angel said to Joseph.
“Do not be afraid” – the angel said to the shepherds.
It seems that when we encounter the holy, we encounter something so awesome that our natural human response is fear. Suddenly we are faced with how small and insignificant we are. We realize our powerlessness, our frailty, our weakness, our sin. We need to be reassured. So the angels speak words of comfort, “Do not be afraid.”
Is that why Jesus came as a baby? Is that why he is portrayed as a humble servant, despised and rejected by men, no physical beauty that we would be drawn to him? Did he clothe himself in our weak humanity so that he could face our fears? Did he know how hard it is not to be afraid in this world? How much effort men put into exerting power over others through fear?
Is this why he made himself so lowly that even the religious leaders of the day found it easy to dismiss him – to “lord it over” him – and eventually to kill him?
Yet this is God’s way.
Man’s way would be totally different. He never, ever, would have clothed a king- a deity – in poor man’s clothing and laid him in a manger. He never would have had him bruise his thumb under a hammer, the tools of his earthly father’s trade. He would have created a man beautiful to look at, charismatic of speech, able to incite a kingdom overthrow and a powerful earthly kingdom rule. He would have interviewed until he had the perfect team of 12. And he never would have gone to the cross!
Satan knew this. When Satan tempted Jesus just before he began his ministry, he tempted him with all the ways of man:
- to provide for ourselves, afraid that God will not give us enough or the best
- with the desire to utilize whatever power and resources are available to gain our objectives
- to test God’s love and desire to care for us
Yet this is not God’s way.
A Love Story
God’s way is the way of perfect love through sacrifice.
Because the story of the birth and life, death and resurrection, of Jesus – is a love story.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Because of Jesus, we no longer need to be afraid.
The “Fall” and God’s Rescue Plan
When man rebelled from God in the Garden of Eden, fear entered. Where man once walked in loving intimacy with God, he now hid. When confronted with his sin, his first response to God was, “I was afraid...” A shadow was cast over the lives of mankind, and we forgot God’s love.
But God cannot forget the ones He loves, so he created a rescue plan.
What we gave away, he would redeem. He would restore us to LOVE.
Through Jesus, God’s perfect love has come to us…
- to deliver us from fear (1 John 4:8)
- to heal our brokenness
- to restore our hope
But it isn’t easy to grab a hold of this truth. Jesus often had to challenge even the ones closest to him on earth. For long ages, man has walked in fear. It isn’t easy to walk in faith.
- “Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:40
- Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36
Then, Jesus tells a story because he knows that he will soon be going away. He wants them to understand that a relationship with God is one of trust and love – not one of fear. In the Parable of the Talents, the Master returns to find that although two of the servants have been faithful and productive, one of them has not understood or loved his master. He has ‘hidden‘ and ‘feared‘ – everything of the ‘Fall’ has remained in him.
“So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.” Matt.25:25
God With Us
When Jesus returned to the Father, he gave us His Spirit of Peace to comfort us – to remind us of the truth of His love – and to help us.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
The Christmas Story is a Love Story
God showed us how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him…
And he has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us…
God is love, and all who live in love live in God and God lives in them…
Such love has no fear, because perfect love casts out all fear. 1 John 4:9,13,16b,18
When we put our faith in Jesus – in who he is and what he has done – we can walk out of the darkness of fear and into the light of love – and there is no fear in love.