So. In our last post, Jesus finished telling his disciples about all these frightening things: being hated for his sake, floggings, persecution, fleeing from town to town and the worst of all, being betrayed by family members! Yikes! Then we read in verse 26 he continues with
"So do not be afraid of them."
*ahem* Ya know, persecutions and floggings and being hated and running from village to village and your own family members turning against you doesn't exactly help the ol' peace of mind! How exactly do we not fear when we are facing all these horrible things?
Notice the latter part of this verse:
"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."
Does this bring to mind all the cheating scandals which make the news almost monthly? I'm sure SC Governor Mark Sanford thought he could keep his traveling to Argentina a secret by telling some crazy lie about going hiking on the Appalachian Trail. On Father's Day weekend. Without his boys.
And John Edwards. I heard his wife say she found out about his mistress from answering his cell phone. Silly mistress had to go and say, "Hey, Baby" and just like that the wife found out and a former vice presidential candidate was outed.
And what of Tiger Woods and Eliot Spitzer and numerous others?
Yet what about me? And you? What maybe are we hiding that we feel no one will ever -- we hope and pray - discover? Perhaps Jesus didn't have this in mind at all, but it's what came to my mind. I actually find this verse a bit troubling, yet I shouldn't if I have confessed my sins and am harboring no secret sins. I know God is faithful to forgive us if we repent.
Continuing on in this passage. Notice
27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
Perhaps Jesus wanted his message - which he taught to his disciples privately - to be shared with everyone? I got this impression. Proclaiming from the roofs kind of conjures up this image in my head! :)
28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
The Bible often tells us not to fear storms, people, circumstances and so forth. Fear torments (can I get an Amen?) and perfect love casts out fear according to I John 4:18 It seems quite often people are more fearful of society and peers and perhaps religious leaders than they fear God. Fear of God is good. We should respect the Almighty One and be more concerned with how HE sees us than how Pastor Joe or Sheikh Hassan or Rabbi Benjamin view us. This prompts me to ask, how much should we fear God? Any thoughts on that? Is He like an angry ruler looking for us to mess up and prepared to cast us into hell at the slightest infraction? Is He like a sweet old grandpa ready to wink at sin? Closer to one than the other, somewhere in the middle or something else entirely?
Back to our not fearing others and circumstances, Jesus goes on to give an example of small birds.
29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
Even cheap sparrows don't fall without God knowing it! As a matter of fact,
30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
And I've read some that say that's not like "Susanne has 48,966 hairs on her head," but rather "Oh, I see hair # 1,257 just hit the floor." (OK, so I personalized it just a bit.) Every hair is numbered?!
31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.