Today, I read Luke 1. Certainly a familiar passage, and one that mentions the word "fear" 4 times:
Luke 1:12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
Luke 1:50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
Luke 1:65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea,
Luke 1:74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear,In the first chapter of the gospel of Luke, there are two instances of an angel appearing to someone and counselling them, "do not be afraid".
First, Gabriel appeared to Zechariah as he was carrying out his duty in the temple, and told him that his wife would bear a son. On this momentous occasion, a once-in-a-lifetime privilege to light the incense beside the veil in the temple, an angel appeared with the BEST of news. Zechariah's prayers would be answered. His wife would give birth to a son who would be filled with the Holy Spirit and would be used to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for Him.
Zechariah's response showed a lack of trust. Perhaps he had prayed and prayed and prayed some more, begging God to grant him a son. Perhaps he had listened to his wife's cries as she lamented the fact that she had suffered reproach among her people for many long years, because she was barren. At any rate, Zechariah questioned the angel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God!
- God knows every detail about ever human baby, even in the womb.
- God plans out each life from the beginning.
- God calls certain people for special service.
- We should NEVER get weary of praying for something - PERSEVERE!
- We should ALWAYS trust our Father to do what is best in His good time.
Second, Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she, a virgin, would bear a Son, who would be great and be called the Son of the Most High. Gabriel's greeting puzzled Mary:
"Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!"Mary's response was one of wonder. She did not know HOW she could conceive. She didn't know why she, a simple girl from an obscure family with little means, would bear a son equal to the Most High God. Astounding!
The title "Favoured One", bestowed on Mary, is the same designation all believers are referred to. Check out Ephesians 1:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)
Blessed in this instance is the same word as favoured. It means full of grace. Mary was no different from us - she was blessed, favoured, full of grace, as are all who have been redeemed and purchased and adopted and sanctified.
Mary rejoiced and praised God in the Magnificat. Go and read Luke 1.
Zechariah was mute for months because of his lack of trust in God. At the birth of his son, John, God opened his mouth, and the first thing he said was "His name is John." Then he pronounced this Benediction:
And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
(Luke 1:67-79 ESV)
Do you see that? God remembers His holy covenant. He delivered us from the clutches of sin and gave us a new life. We now can serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all of our days.
- We do not fear that God will leave us.
- We do not fear that He will not help us every step of the way.
- We do not fear that He will forget us.
- We do not fear that He won't be gracious and merciful to us.
God is our Abba, Daddy, Father, and He loves us. Jesus is our Saviour, Lord and Master, and He loves us. We do not fear - we have confidence to approach the throne of Grace, knowing that the Holy Spirit will always guide us into all truth.
The only thing we fear is forgetting these glorious truths. The only thing we fear is not living in the light of the gospel. We fear ourselves - our sin nature - our flesh. But with God on our side, we persevere with courage, and we do NOT FEAR.