CLERGY CORNER: No Fear!

Posted on 24 April 2014 by LeslieM

It is hard to imagine what that first Easter morning was really like, how remarkable, how stunning but we do know fear was pervasive. There is certainly no desire to revisit the brutality that led up to the resurrection. And, we cannot produce a great earthquake or angelic bolts of lightning.

Fear of God refers to reverence for God which is a good thing. Fear can prevent us from doing things that are harmful. We know God can use fear for good purpose. It’s no accident the men guarding the tomb were incapacitated by fear.

In the early hours of Easter morning, fear persists not only among those who love Jesus but also among those who do not.

Remember, even after being told by the angel of the Lord, “Don’t be afraid,” the women, each named Mary, left with fear and joy. They were still quivering, which is mild compared to the men guarding the tomb. They were so frightened they fainted …

Fear is a natural response to a great earthquake and bolts of lightning, but fear among those who loved Jesus was widespread not only because of what happened that day. It was all the things they cumulatively experienced. It was everything they brought to the moment.

The same can be true for me and you …

Fear is not something we can touch to feel. In most cases, at least in moderation, fear is subtle and stealthy. You cannot taste it or smell it, you cannot see it or hear it, but fear is real.

Does fear have a prevalent place in your life today? I hope not, but we all live with a little fear don’t we? What do you fear today? What is it that gets in the way, prevents you from loving and worshipping, and serving the Lord and living life to the fullest?

Whatever it is, whatever you fear — poor physical health, a financial challenge, a relationship that’s on the rocks, what the future holds for a child or a grandchild, a parent or grandparent, a friend — put your fear in the context of the resurrection, put it in the context of what Jesus accomplishes through the resurrection and your fear will assuredly disappear …

The 28th chapter of Matthew’s gospel tells us the first message Jesus speaks after the resurrection is “Do not be afraid.” This is a message that transcends time and place and resonates through centuries of human existence.

Have no fear!”

Immediately after the resurrection, Jesus is speaking to his followers. They are reeling from what’s happened and he knows it. Have we ever been reeling? They are overwhelmed and confused. Have we ever been overwhelmed and confused? They are frightened. Have we ever been frightened? Of course we have …

Jesus says, have “No Fear! I am alive. I am here and through your faith in me you are free for eternity.”

Yes, Jesus speaks to the fear that saturates the first Easter like a heavy mist in the air, but he also speaks to the fear that saturates the landscape of our lives today. Recognize fear is part of the landscape of life. God recognizes it. God sees it. God knows it and Jesus is the answer to it …

Christ’s first message on Easter morning is everlasting. Accept him into your heart. Celebrate Easter every day of the year and live with no fear!

Dennis Andrews is a minister at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach), located five blocks south of Hillsboro on A1A. See more at www.communitych.org or on Facebook. Worship gatherings are Sunday morning at 8:30 and 11 a.m.

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