St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church

Fighting Fear

April 17, 2020
Matthew 28:5-7—The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Nope, this wasn’t an accident. It was intentional to use the same words again for this encouragement! They are words we cannot hear enough, especially in times such as these. Even if you aren’t afraid, you help and deal with people who often are. That’s why you’re helping them or their loved ones.

In these times of fear, we all have an amazing opportunity to shed light on the truth which calms every fear. We all get to bring the message of the angel:
Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said! And how important to do this while we have this unprecedented opportunity because we do not know how long this will last. A recent devotion spoke to this point so well, I wanted to share it with you:

In an interview with Time magazine, Dr. Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to the Director-General of the World Health Organization was asked this question by the Time correspondent: “How do you think this will end?”  Dr. Aylward answered, “This will end with humanity victorious over yet another virus.” Do you see there the root cause of fear at work even as this man seeks to calm the world’s fears? Yes, we too will rejoice when a vaccine is discovered, and more effective care is developed for COVID-19. But if the only lesson our world learns from this pandemic is that humanity again has risen to the occasion of defeating another enemy, please know this: there is a whole host of other enemies just waiting to show how frail and fleeting and foolish is that boast. Such human centered encouragements not to be afraid will always be followed by a return of other fears. Humanity is not the answer to what makes us afraid. The root cause of all fear is humanity’s ongoing stubborn arrogance that we can answer every fear apart from our Creator and Savior!

You know that the freedom from fear is found at the empty tomb of our Savior, Jesus. Even as you use your ingenuity and hope that others use their ingenuity to bring this pandemic to and end, remember neither yourself nor they are your greatest reliance. People fail, and people cannot save eternally. But your gracious and loving Lord never fails. He proved it in giving his own Son as the price to pay for eternal life for all people—you included!