My Thoughts. . .
The expression “Fear not” is found fourteen times in the New Testament. Naturally, there are some parallels in Matthew through John where the expression is found in the same event. The word for fear in Greek is phobeo. It is found 90 times and translated as fear 62 and afraid 28 times. Individuals such as Joseph, Zacharias, Mary, Peter, the apostles, Paul, and others were told to “Fear not.”
Is it not easier to lay those two words, “Fear not,” upon another’s shoulders rather than ours? The words were given to individuals so they would “trust” in God rather than allow “fear” to ruin their day. Yet those words do not relieve believers from harm. Joseph was told to take Mary as his wife though she was pregnant. When the angel left, did Joseph think, “No problem. It was just a bad dream”? Were there any difficulties? Did Joseph feel guilty about claiming Jesus was his son? Did he question whether his dream was a nightmare rather than an angel actually conversing with him? Satan is often successful in filling our mind with sticky doubts.
An angel appeared to Mary telling her she would be pregnant without the aid of a man. If fornication meant death, would a young girl who was engaged to an older man not have questions? Would he accept the real reason for her pregnancy? Would there be difficult questions being asked of her that would demand answers which would sound crazy to others? Would she not have to choose her words carefully?
If God gives a command and then prefaces it with “Fear not,” would that not warn you of possible problems? Would you have any questions? “What will people say?” “Will I lose my family?” “Will my family feel the weight of persecution for my actions?” “Will this affect my job, or my pension or retirement?” “Will my reputation be ruined?” What did the brave apostles do when the Temple police and crowd showed up to arrest Jesus? Did they not ultimately choose darkness to clothe themselves with? Did they not later meet in a room with a locked door?
Trusting God! What does that look like? Does that guarantee that my family and I will not be mistreated? Will I have smooth sailing with no obstacles in my tomorrow? Daniel never worshiped an idol, nor did he turn away from God. Yet he walked the 1,135 kilometers from Judah to Babylon with thousands of other slaves. He rejected the king’s diet for young men in his position, knowing it could end badly for him. He was put in a cage with hungry lions, yet none did a taste test on him. Smooth sailing? No questions? No negative thoughts? Doesn’t “trust” mean all negatives will be removed and lottery won living will be one’s future? Jeremiah was promised that he would not be killed. God kept His promise. Yet, he was jailed. He was put in chains. He was mistreated. He was condemned. Even family members were against him. Twelve men wanted to reign with Jesus, but he did not come to drive the Roman army out. They refused to understand that his plan was to die in order to reign. Peter attempted to protect him, but Jesus told him to put up his sword. What king does that? What king establishes his kingdom without an army and hangs upon a cross to get it? Doubts. Questions. Locked doors. Fear!
“Fear not!” Dynamite words that blow your world away so you can see His! “Fear not!” Even if you do allow fear with its accompanying doubts, Jesus is the great comforter.