The recent images of people fleeing in fear from falling buildings, or gunfire, or suicide bombings, remain vividly in our minds. Terrorism, biochemical and nuclear weapons, economic recession, jobs being eliminated, food shortages, earthquakes, violent storms, terminal illnesses … the list of things that strike fear into men’s hearts could be lengthened. But there is an antidote for this fear, which we learn of in the Bible, and which we will explore in this magazine.
One of the Greek words used for fear is phobeo, and means “to put to flight by terrifying, to be seized with alarm.” This word is used many times in the Scriptures, seven of which are in the phrase “Fear Not” that is found in Luke’s gospel. In these instances, three times uttered by an angel and four times by Jesus, we have a divine prescription for overcoming fear. Luke’s gospel reveals Christ especially as the Son of man, the One who entered into manhood that He might know and meet man’s every need (Hebrews 2:9; 4:15,16).
1. Luke 1:13-—“Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard.” God hears the prayer of the repentant sinner and the seeking saint (Romans 10:13; Psalm 34:4.)
2. Luke 1:30—“Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.” To remove fear is to be in favor with God, by trusting Jesus as Saviour. See Luke 1:47; John 5:24; Romans 5:1; Psalm 27:1.
3. Luke 2:10—“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Christ’s coming into the world to be the “Saviour” is the answer to men’s sin and thus of his fears (1 Timothy 1:15). Christ is coming again (John 14:3) to remove all believers from this wicked world and take them to heaven to be without fear in His presence forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 21:4).
4. Luke 5:10,11—“Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And … they forsook all, and followed Him.” The child of God need not fear the cost or consequences of discipleship. As he closely follows the Lord, he will serve Him without fear (Luke 1:74; Philippians 1:14).
5. Luke 8:50—“Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.” The unbeliever lives in fear of death (Hebrews 2:15), but here Jesus says to “Fear not” in the presence of death, for He will give life to all who believe on Him. See John 3:15,16; Psalm 23:4.
6. Luke 12:7—“Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Persecution for the sake of Christ is no reason to fear, for the worst that man can do is take our physical life. God who cares for the lowly sparrow will watch over those who preach the gospel (Hebrews 13:5,6; Revelation 2:10).
7. Luke 12:32—“Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Christians need not be fearful about food or clothing when they give themselves wholly to God, for He promises to supply every need now until we inherit His kingdom. See 1 Kings 17:9-16; Psalm 34:9.