The Bible is full of instruction not to, yet it doesn’t seem like a command when we are concerned about something. Fear can seem responsible. It can make us feel like we care about what is going on in the world. But it deceives because fear is not that at all. Fear consumes, it can make a person slow down and it can even make a person ill. Here are more instructions from Jesus to his disciples who are embarking on the mission life.
“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10 v 26-31)
- Do not be afraid of what you do not know.
Yesterday, in a meeting I was attending a colleague said, “There’s nothing wrong but there’s something not right.” Have you ever thought that? You just can’t put your finger on something. It may be too good to be true. There was no evidence but there was an atmosphere. We have an idiom we use, ‘I can smell trouble’. This intuitive sixth sense can be a gift. This pandemic has revealed that 86% of people who have Covid-19 lose some or all of their ability to smell. What if you cannot decipher what may happen next? What if you no longer can smell trouble? Don’t be afraid. That is what Jesus tells them. Here’s another idiom: it will all come out in the wash.
- Do not be afraid of the worst that people can do.
Maybe like me today you have something to do that you really don’t want to do. We have to make purposeful decisions not to fear people. We have to decide not to be bullied into silence. The Religious Pharisees and experts of the Law held the ordinary person in a vice of threat. Follow us, do what we say and all will be well for you. Jesus blows them out of the water. Jesus says there is only one to be feared, obeyed and followed directly. God. People have no eternal authority over your life. When we pass from this life we will not be facing that religious bully, we will face God.
- Do not be afraid of God not taking care of your situation.
God knows how much things cost. He knows the market value of things, even insignificant things. Does God know the value of a budgie? YES. Jesus is saying to these missionary disciples that God knows every detail of their life. He has weighed them and has decided they are of great value so He is going to take good care of them. This is our promise also.