Jesus on Fear
If you’re anything like me, the daily news headlines are usually a source of anxiety (see: murder hornets?). The constant stimulus of information is almost too much sometimes. Understandably, there is a lot of pain, frustration, and uncertainty during this time, which causes us to experience one of the most basic and intense emotions: fear.
Fear (and its cousin, anxiety) is a mixture of reactions to uncertainty about a potential outcome and concrete threats. Or, as John Mark Comer has said – a Christian definition could be the: “anticipation of future suffering…without Jesus involved in it.”
As followers of Jesus, none of us are immune to suffering. Nobody can avoid difficulties or trials in this life. Jesus’ teachings, however, repeatedly remind us not to be afraid. But what is his rationale? How can he tell us not to fear? Here are four reminders directly from Jesus (italics mine):
Do not fear, Jesus values you.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Do not fear, Jesus will meet your needs.
“And he said to his disciples, 'Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.'"
Do not fear, Jesus will give you peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Do not fear, Jesus holds the keys.
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’”
Ultimately, Jesus gives us these promises because he desires to have a people that love him completely and love their neighbors boldly. As John reminds us, “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).