As chapter 12 of Luke’s Gospel begins, the opposition to Jesus is heating up. He has had strong (yet merciful) words of warning for the Pharisees and the Scribes who haven’t just missed the fact that He has been sent from God, but are actively seeking to keep others from following Him. They have begun to “press him hard and are trying to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say (Luke 11:53-54).” Their motives are clear. Their hope is that he will say something that will sign his own death warrant.
It shouldn’t surprise us then, as “so many thousands of the people” were gathering around him “that they were trampling on him,” that he would turn to his disciples to have a heart-to-heart about fear. All fear is not equal. What Jesus tells his disciples might have sounded contradictory at first. Fear the influence of the Pharisees (Luke 12:1) but do not fear the Pharisees (Luke 12:4).
Then who should they fear? Another seeming paradox. “Fear Him who… has the authority to cast into hell (Luke 12:5).” Oh, by the way, he numbers the hairs on your head and values you more than many sparrows (Luke 12:.5-7). Fear God and you need not fear anything else.
This Sunday Erik Thoennes will be preaching Luke 12:1-12 and Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? Let’s ask the Lord to realign our fear of the Lord, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Tim. 1:7).” Proper fear of the Lord should make us fearless and courageous in a world opposed to Christ.
See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
Book recommendation of the Week
Rejoice and Tremble: The Surprising Good News of the Fear of the Lord by Michael Reeves