And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD ..." But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day. (Exodus 14:13a, 29-30a)
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. ..." So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid." (Matthew 28:5-6, 8-10a)
Death is terrifying. The people of Israel knew this, caught between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea. Jesus' followers knew this as they dealt with the aftermath of His crucifixion. I know this whenever my asthma acts up and I fumble for my inhaler. You know this, when you face the fact that someone you love is dying, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.
God knows we are afraid, and His heart goes out to us. And so He says to us: "Do not be afraid!" "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord." "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Matthew 28:10b; Exodus 14:13b; Isaiah 43:19a)
To all our fears, God gave one overwhelming, everlasting answer: He raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the first of the human race to rise from death in this way, never to die again. But He will not be the last!
Jesus is the guarantee of our own resurrection, because everyone who trusts in Him will share His victory. This is why we can say with Paul: "'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' ... Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:54b-55, 57).
This is the answer to our fear—a Savior who loves us and who has conquered death. We do not face death alone. He is with us, and He will bring us back.
THE PRAYER: Lord, when I face death, be my strength and comfort. Amen.
* Whom do you love who has died?
* When you are afraid, how do you deal with it?
* What does Jesus' resurrection mean to you personally? Mention one or two specific things.
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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