February 26, 2011
(Jesus said) "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32
Are you afraid?
Most people seem to have their bouts with fear.
Maybe that's why this story has always kind of amused me. The imaginary tale begins in the days of the Roman Empire. Although we would say throwing someone to the lions is a case of cruel and inhuman punishment, the Romans actually relished the practice.
Indeed, a great cheer went up from the stands when a fresh criminal was thrown to the beasts. Strangely, rather than screaming at the approach of the lion, this criminal merely whispered into the lion's ear.
The crowd gasped as the animal backed off. Three more times this happened until, out of curiosity, the criminal was pardoned. The emperor called the delivered desperado before him and asked what he had said to the lion. The criminal confessed he had whispered, "After dinner you'll be required to say a few words."
What are you afraid of? You're a rare person if there isn't something that sends a cold shiver down your spine.
Thankfully, the thing we ought most to be afraid of will never happen!
And what is that thing? It's being afraid of living life without God. I can think of nothing in this world that would be more frightening.
But, as I say, that will never happen. Because of Jesus' completed work of redemption, we know the Lord will never leave us or forsake us.
Now, because that big fear has been conquered, all our other little fears are put into perspective.
With God beside us, we know we'll be okay. Even if, after dinner, we're expected to say a few words or even if this devotion is carried into tens of thousands of homes -- even then I won't be afraid.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for being close beside us in all our life situations. Keep us safe in Your hands until -- because of the Savior's sacrifice -- we are taken to that place where fear has been banished. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries