Afraid Not: Brave
There at least 21 different times in the Gospels alone where Jesus encourages us not to fear.
-Matthew 10:31 – So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows
-Luke 8:50 – Don’t be afraid, just believe
-John 14:1 – Don’t let your hearts be troubled
-Others examples: Matthew 6:25, Matthew 14:27, Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:32, Luke 24:18, Matthew 24:6
Throughout Scripture the command not to fear often includes the command to “be strong and courageous”.
-Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
-1 Chronicles 28:20 – David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
-Daniel 10:19 – And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
-1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong
We conclude our series on fear by leaning into this topic of courage:
-Courage does not mean you’re not afraid (all the fearless people are dead!)
-Courage does not mean you’re an impenetrable robot.
-Courage does not mean you pretend to be unfazed by the hardships in your life
We witness one of the most important struggles of courage in history in today’s passage:
As Jesus prepares to go to the cross, He clearly experienced fear (Luke’s account speaks of Jesus’ sweat like drops of blood).
Despite the fear that he was experiencing, Jesus’ response was ultimately one of surrender to the will of the Father.
What does courage mean?
-Obedient action in the face of fear and uncertainty
-Courage cannot be the absence of fear. The one thing you must have to have courage is fear, because courage isn’t overcoming nothing. Courage is overcoming fear.
In the moment of uncertainty, it is not fear that determines the outcome, but rather obedience.
There are three different pictures of Jesus’ obedience
1. Verse 39 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
2. Verse 42 “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
3. Verse 46 “Rise! Let us go!”
A closer look at Matthew 26:46 “Let Us Go”
1. Jesus was saying yes to God’s calling
a. The felt real fear and anxiety, but ultimately he chose obedience
b. Jesus was saying yes to the cross of suffering
2. Jesus was inviting his disciples to say yes to God’s calling
a. Jesus’ response was also an invitation to others
b. The road ahead would be marked with difficulty, pain, and heartache
c. Jesus is challenging them to model their obedience after his own
3. Jesus was acknowledging that we walk in obedience together
a. The power of presence of God would be undeniable in the days ahead
b. The presence of God allows us to obey in spite of fear
Without courage, your calling is crippled.
At the end of our lives, what we will regret most is not the risks we took,
instead the times when we played it safe.
Other Texts for Study & Reflection:
Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?