Be Afraid?

Parents often calm a child’s unreasonable fear – There’s nothing to be afraid of. Mommy and Daddy are right here with you.

God doesn’t want His children to live fearful lives either. Perhaps that’s why the Bible gives so many reassuring messages - Fear Not! Your Heavenly Father is right here.

Here our Teacher encourages His students to be brave in the face of ridicule and pressure.

So do not be afraid of them… Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

So it comes as a bit of a shock when the Teacher actually turns around and tells us to be afraid!

Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Does the Teacher really want us to be afraid, when in the very next breath He says:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don't be afraid.

What’s going on here? Perhaps, the Teacher is talking like parents sometimes do.

We warn our children not to do something wrong out of fear of what their peers will do to them. Then we remind them it’s more reasonable to be afraid of what Mommy and Daddy will do if they don’t!

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Don’t be afraid! Be afraid! It makes perfect sense.


  1. The fear of the Lord can be a tricky thing to grasp. While we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb 4:16.) We are also supposed to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12) Some have mentioned that a healthy respect or reverence could replace the word “fear" in “the fear of the Lord.” While that is somewhat correct, sometimes we need to understand that if we turn away there will be judgment, and that is something to fear! Fear here is used as a motivator, yet we can also have confidence in our Lord and savior at the same time. This as Denny mentioned, seems somewhat confusing, but makes perfect sense.

    The other thing in this passage that is somewhat confusing yet makes sense is when Jesus says he “did not come to bring peace on the earth.” Did not the angels appear to the shepherds in the field and sing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests?” (Luke 2:14)

    The peace Jesus brings won’t be upon the entire earth, but is for the believers – those on “whom his favor rests.” And those who “Take his yoke upon them and learn from Him.” As a matter of fact, one well known verse that promises Jesus’ peace also promises trials: “I have told you these things, so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

    Those who trust and follow the Teacher, who learn from Him and rely on Him will have peace, even in the midst of trouble: “Rejoice in the Lord. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:4-7)

    You can almost hear an implied THEN – between “present your requests to Go” and “The peace of God” When will we have this peace beyond comprehension? When we rejoice in the Lord, realize He is near, stop worrying (being anxious) and instead Trust in Him (presenting all our requests to him – with thanksgiving.) It is when we completely rely on God that we will have the peace we seek.

  2. Jesus is talking to students fairly
    early on in their spiritual formation.
    Maybe, out there somewhere in spiritual
    maturity is a love that casts out all
    fear. Anyway, until we reach there, we
    don't have a spirit of fear as our primary motivation.

  3. This lesson has a great point. A healthy fear of God should always be present in our hearts, since He has the power to do ANYTHING. However, fear will only empower us so long. That's what's so great about the University of Jesus; we have not just fear to keep us close to God, but also the drive to become more like our Teacher, thus filling an otherwise-unfillable void. Denny, this blog's great. Kepp up the good work, man. By the way, this is Zac, but I couldn't find out how to get my name to show up. Ha.

  4. Ok, Zac. Thanks for nice words and
    for good observation. By the way,
    you can post your name by selecting
    name/url on the select profile arrow
    and then only filling in the name
    part. Hope you comment again sometime.