Before I go any further in our Fearless series, I want to point out that the bible talks about two different kinds of fear. One is the paralyzing, debilitating kind of fear that keeps you worried, upset and unable to do the things God has called you to do. Speaking against this kind of fear is what the blog series, Fearless, is all about.
However, there is another kind of fear: the fear of God. This is a fear that makes you filled with awe at His holiness and purity, reverent because He is deserving of worship and praise, and a healthy fear of God simply because you can tell how sinless He is and how sinful you are! When Isaiah came into the presence of God, he cried out, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips." (Isaiah 6:5 NLT) In other words, God is holy. We are not. When we come into the presence of God, there will always be a sense of our unworthiness. If we are repentant, there is mercy. If we are not ... then there is good reason to fear.
Yes, God is love and full of mercy. But He is also righteous and just. An unrepentant attitude will bring judgment - make no mistake.
All righty. Let's move on to our next instance in the New Testament where we are told not to fear:
Matthew 28:1-10 (NKJV)
Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
The followers of Jesus must have run the gamut of emotion: despair, fear, wonder and joy all in less than a week's time.
First of all, to see an angel with a face that shone as lightning must have been terrifying. It sure scared the guards to death!
But what looked like a scary occurrence was actually a joyous one: God sent an angel, and then Jesus himself, to tell the women that Jesus had risen! What's more, He made a special point of calling the disciples His brothers - He had forgiven them for running away the night of the crucifixion - and telling them where He would meet with them.
He knows the hearts of His children. He knew their fear, despair and confusion and so He showed up. First a messenger was sent to tell the women. (By the way, He chose women to be the first to go and tell about the resurrection.)
He also came Himself to the women. He knew they needed a personal encounter.
He still wants the same thing for us today. He gave us His word that we can read the message over and over.
Do not be afraid. Go and tell!
~~~I'm writing this post in community at Michelle's "Hear It on Sunday, Use It on Monday." You can find this community on her blog, Michelle DeRusha.