"Be Not Afraid"
August 14, 2011
But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay." Matthew 28:5-6
Almost anybody who is a member of a church knows one of the best-attended services of the year is the children's Christmas worship -- far less frequently done is a children's Easter worship. Even so, it is held in some places and this devotion is based on one such service -- a service at which a little boy was given a talking part.
The lad was to play the role of the angel at Jesus' empty tomb. He had one line to say: "It is I, be not afraid." According to his teacher, the boy took his part seriously and he practiced that line. He practiced it to make sure it would stick in his memory; he practiced it with different inflections so as to maximize its impact.
In spite of his practice, the day of the service the boy was a basket case. The teacher tried to comfort him even as his stomach discomforted him. Finally his moment arrived; boldly he walked out on the stage.
From that stage, past the lights, he could see hundreds of faces looking right at him. The boy's mind went blank and his tongue took on a life of its own. Rather than saying, "It is I, be not afraid," he said, "It's me, and I'm scared to death."
Now you may or may not get scared to death speaking to an audience, but almost everybody is afraid of something. You may be afraid of losing your memory, losing your job, losing your spouse, losing your health, losing your license, or a gazillion other fears. This short devotion doesn't have time to name them all, most, or even many.
You have fears.
And what can be done to help you with those fears? Some say, "Look those fears in the face and you can conquer them." Some would encourage you to desensitize yourself by approaching your fear slowly.
St. Peter says we should cast all our cares on Jesus because He cares for us (see 1 Peter 5:7).
Of course, Peter's suggestion would make no sense at all if the crucified and buried Jesus had stayed buried. A dead Messiah is no Messiah, which is why the angel's resurrection message is so critical.
The news that Jesus lives means we can believe Him when He says He is with us always, when He says we can come to Him with our burdens and fears. It means we can relax. After all, anyone who has conquered sin, death and devil, can easily handle our fears too.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for giving us a living Savior who can be trusted, accept my thanks. Now I ask that You will send the Holy Spirit upon me so I may remember to cast my cares upon the living Redeemer. In the Name of the Savior I pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries