June 10, 2012
(Jesus said) "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27
It's been a number of years since I saw my local Sunday paper feature an article on fear.
Back then, and having interviewed a scientific cross-section of the country, the magazine listed the things which Americans feared the most:
• 54 percent of us said we were afraid or very afraid of being in a car crash.
• 53 percent were afraid or very afraid of having cancer.
• 50 percent were afraid Social Security would fail.
• 49 percent were afraid of not having enough set aside for retirement.
• 36 percent were afraid of getting food poisoning from meat.
• 33 percent were afraid of becoming a victim of personal violence.
When people were asked about the cause of their worries, nine out of ten confessed they thought the world is less safe today than it was when they grew up. Since the day that poll was taken I imagine some of the fears have gone up in value while others have decreased. For certain, one thing hasn't changed: people are still afraid.
We shouldn't be surprised. Worry has been a part of our psyche since sin entered the world. After Adam and Eve chomped down on the forbidden fruit, they were afraid to meet their Maker. Their son, Cain, was afraid that people might murder him. Jacob was afraid his brother might kill him. Moses was afraid God's people might not listen to him. King David was afraid his son might overthrow him. Elijah was afraid he was the only believer left. Christ's disciples were afraid the same Jewish leaders that had worked so successfully, so efficiently, in bringing about the crucifixion of Jesus, might be looking for them.
Fears come ... which is why we also need Jesus to come to our lives.
It makes little difference if our fear is like that of the disciples who locked themselves away for fear of the Jews, or if we have developed our own very personal terror. To us Jesus comes: spit-upon Jesus, nail-pierced and crucified Jesus, a spear-through-His-side Jesus, a risen-from-the-dead Jesus -- comes to us and speaks.
His words are simple. He says, "Peace be with you."
Coming from anyone else those words would be foolish and false. Coming from Him who conquered sin, the devil and death, they have a power, which -- when believed -- can eliminate or put into proportion the strongest of our fears, worries and terrors.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, because of sin this world is a fearful and frightening place. As Your forgiven and saved children, I give thanks You have entered my heart and mind and brought peace. Truly it is a peace unlike that given by the world, and it does pass human understanding. But it is real because You are real. In Your Name, I give thanks. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries