I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Luke 12:4-5 ESV
Today’s verse introduces a summer feature which I will call “Did Jesus Really Say That?!”. “But why Pastor Pete?” some of you will probably ask. “Why bring up those kinds of verses? Why not focus on the sweet and positive things that Jesus said?” Well, I guess the first answer is, “Jesus is way smarter than you or I.” If He tells us something, then in spite of how it sounds, He still has something good in mind. Take today’s verse, for instance. Jesus starts out by telling me not to be afraid of those who want to kill me. Now, in general, this does not calm my heart. Instead, I begin glancing over my shoulder, wondering who is planning what to do me in. But if we would scratch a little deeper beneath the surface, we would see that Jesus is teaching us to swim in a spiritual sense. Of course, it feels like He just tossed me into the deep end of the pool and said, “Go for it!”. But in reality, He is bringing a warning to our attention that far outweighs anything that an enemy could do to us. The life that Jesus wants us to focus on is beyond the horizon of this world. If He were to fail to tell us about God’s judgement, as to how we have lived our lives, He wouldn’t be doing us any favors.
Lately there has been a lot written about how the Chinese Communist Party is learning all our private information, in preparation for some future day. On my part I am not so sure that all the data which Google, Facebook and the American Government has on us is a whole lot better! But instead of worrying about what people would do to us, Jesus is telling us to chill. Don’t worry. Stop fussing about what other people can do. If you think the Tik-Tok folks know a lot, imagine God, who counts every hair on our head and knows every word, before we speak it.
"Bless those who curse you, think what they would say if they knew the truth." Mother Teresa
And yet, our God who knows everything about us, cared enough to send Jesus into our world to save us. Yes, there are difficult things He would have to say to us, just as when a mother screams at her child to get out of the road when she sees a car bearing down on us from behind. Jesus wants us to be aware, awake and focusing our fear where it will do us good. Only then are we ready for what He has to say next!
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 ES