Sunday 22 June 2014

Bible Book:

“So have no fear of them” (v. 26)

Matthew 10:24-39 Sunday 22 June 2014


If I was to ask you what is the most repeated command in theBible what you would say? It is, in fact, the command we find inverses 26, 28 and 31 of Matthew 10 - "Do not be afraid." Thiscommand figures quite prominently in the Christmas story: Zechariah(Luke 1:13); Mary (Luke1:30); Joseph (Matthew 1:20) and the shepherds (Luke2:10), where it is associated with the appearance of an angelor a messenger from God.

In Matthew 10:16-25 Jesus makes a rather full listof people and situations the disciples do not need to fear. To theeyes of the 21st-century reader and I am sure to the ears of hisfollowers this seems to be quite a fearful list, so why should theynot be afraid? The answer Jesus gives in verses 26-27 is stillrather alarming: "for nothing is covered up that will not beuncovered, and nothing is secret that will not become known". Whatdoes Jesus mean by this? It sounds like all our deepest secrets andprivate actions will suddenly be laid bare for all to see. That israther scary and an excellent cause to be afraid!

However, what Jesus is actually promising his disciples is thatthe truth will out,and their words and actions as faithfulfollowers of Jesus will be seen for what they are - in spite ofwhat their enemies say about them. They will be recognised as menand women of God; there is nothing to be afraid of there.

The most reassuring part of this passage comes in verses 29-31.While we are to fear those who try to destroy our souls (verse 28),those fears should not overwhelm us because God knows us so welland cares for us so much that "the hairs on our head are allcounted"! So we don't have to be afraid even in the most dire ofcircumstances.

To Ponder

  • What is your deepest fear? In what ways does this passage helpyou to reframe your fear?
  • What does it mean to you that God knows you so well that "eventhe hairs on your head are counted"?
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