One of the reasons we do not live to our expectations, fulfil our mission and calling is because many of us are afraid of so many things.
We are afraid of what people will say, of the persons that may be hurt by what we do or say, mistakes, persecutions, afraid of criticisms etc. Today, Jesus tells us the reasons we must not be afraid.
Jesus tells His followers three times today not to be afraid. These are the reasons according to the gospel.
1.One of the reasons we must not be afraid is that we want to be like Jesus. Jesus teaches his followers that a disciple is not above his master but should be glad to become like Him. The master is Jesus Christ. He suffered persecutions first.
When our work or mission brings us suffering, hatred and persecutions, it should make us rejoice that we suffer that because of Jesus.
It should be a source of joy and not sorrow that we want to be like the master. In Acts 5:41, the apostles rejoiced after suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ.
In 1 Peter 4:12-13, the author asks the brethren to be glad to suffer for the sake of Jesus. So, we should be happy to become like the master.
Going through any crisis because of what we do for God may make you feel so depressed. Today, Jesus says that it should not. Hence, we consider it a source of joy to share in the suffering of Christ.
- The Second of the reasons we must not be afraid is found in what Jesus says here. Jesus says; if they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call the members of the family. So we should not be afraid because it is a must that people will have something to say. If they say negative things about Jesus, the disciples will experience the same.
To be a disciple of Jesus is also to be prepared for criticisms. Whether we do or not do, people must talk.
- From the statement above, it shows that if the master suffered persecution. Since the disciple wants to be like the master, he needs to get ready to experience the same fate as the master.
All the apostles of Jesus passed through the same fate. No disciple is above his master. If Jesus was mocked and persecuted, so will His disciples. All that He is and stands for is what we are and what we stand for.
- Jesus reminded us that there is nothing covered that will remain hidden forever. So, there is no need to be afraid of anyone. It is one of the reasons we must not be afraid.
Therefore, despite the lies, accusations and criticisms people level against you, one day, we shall know the truth.
All those lies, abuses, backbiting, etc., must one day be exposed. When we fight any one working for Jesus, we are fighting Jesus himself. Jesus handles the case by Himself. Saul persecuted the Christians, but when Jesus appeared in Acts 9: 4, He asks Saul, “why are you persecuting me”. He did not say, “why are you persecuting the Christians”.
So, He reminds us that “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me” ( Mathew 25:40). We should not be afraid because our battle is God’s battle. There is always a day of judgement.
- Another reason is that Jesus wants his disciples to proclaim Him to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). He expects us to use our gifts and talents to touch souls for God.
In the gospel, Jesus says; whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. Whatever you hear me whisper to you, shout it to the public. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ or to work for Him is not to lie hidden somewhere. Jesus expects us to come out of our comfort zone and proclaim Him. Being afraid will only keep us in a hidden place.
- We should not be afraid because the only one to fear is God, who is omnipotent. In the gospel, Jesus says, ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell fire’.
Therefore, we should not fear challenges, sickness, man, devil etc. They can only affect the body and not the soul. Let us not because of them run away from God. He also has power over eternity. Only He can destroy both body and soul in the hellfire.
- We are not to be afraid because Jesus takes care of us. He knows every plan against your life. He knows everything they are hiding from you. We have to circumvent the reasons we must not be afraid around this belief.
You are not there when they plan evil against you, but God knows all they plan against you. So, do not be afraid. Be close to God. As they work to pull you down, God also works to raise you.
To illustrate this, Jesus uses the sparrows. At that time, Sparrows are of the lowest in price. But yet God cares for them. We are not to fear because we are of more value to God than sparrows. If we who are evil know how to do good to our children, how much more will the Father do to those who ask Him ( Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13).
- Finally, Jesus says, if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me before men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.
Therefore, we should not be afraid because here is not our home. All must depart both the persecutors and the persecuted. And only those who can acknowledge Jesus and speak the truth despite the challenges will receive the crown of glory. Then, whoever rejects Him or lose faith will also receive his rejection at last.
So, there is nothing we can do. What we can do is to stand firm still, persevere and do our work with joy. Do not worry about what people will say. Whether you do or you do not do, they must have something to say. So, remain strong and focus.
May God bless you and give you the grace to stand firm despite the challenges facing us. Amen.