They Were Afraid

Thursday, February 11, 2016, 8:08 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Fear Not, Little Flock.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Mark 16:1-8 (ESV).

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Just as He Told You

Prior to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, at the time when his disciples walked with him, and served with him in ministry on the earth, he told them many things concerning his death and resurrection, and concerning what would happen after he rose from the dead. He let them know that one of them would betray him, that all would fall away from him, and that Peter would deny him three times. He informed them that he would suffer many things at the hands of the religious leaders of the temple. He said they would condemn him to death, and would hand him over to the Gentiles to be crucified. They would mock him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. Yet, on the third day, he said, he would be raised to life. And, he told them that after he had risen that he would go ahead of them into Galilee.

He also informed them that his blood of the covenant would be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, and that they would drink of the same cup as him, meaning that they, too, would suffer similarly as he was going to suffer. He notified them that they would be hated, rejected, mistreated, persecuted, beaten, mocked, falsely accused, imprisoned and killed because of the name of Jesus and for the sake of the gospel of our salvation.

He also spoke of his going back to the Father in heaven, at which time he would send them the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to live in them. He said he was going there to prepare a place for them, and that he would come back and take them to be with him, so that they may also be where he was with the Father in heaven. If he did not go away, he told them, he could not send the Counselor, the Holy Spirit. He said that when the Holy Spirit came, he would convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. He would also guide the Lord’s disciples into all truth, and he would remind them of everything Jesus had taught them when he was with them. And, he would do so much more than this.

Jesus, as well, has told us much concerning what we can expect as his followers on this earth, which is pretty much the same as what he told his disciples. He has told us this through his written Word. His disciples (apostles) taught the believers in Jesus Christ what Jesus taught them concerning salvation, and the crucified life, and what it means to be a follower of Christ. Their teachings were recorded for us in the books of the New Testament (in the Bible). There we learn about holy living, walking by faith, living in the Spirit, pleasing God, ministering to others, and loving God and our neighbors. We also learn that Jesus is coming back to get us one day, and to take us to be with him, and of what we can expect to happen on this earth prior to his return at the end of a time called “The Tribulation.”

Go and Tell

Jesus Christ, God the Son, had just risen from the dead, as he said he would. Some women who were among his followers came to the tomb, expecting to find a stone in front of the tomb, and Jesus’ body inside the tomb. Yet, when they arrived, the stone had been rolled away, and Jesus’ body was not inside the tomb. Instead, a young man dressed in a white robe was inside the tomb, seated on the right side, and the women were afraid. So, he comforted them with the news that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. Then he told the women to go and to tell his disciples and Peter that Jesus was going ahead of them into Galilee, and that they could see him there, just as he had told them.

When the eleven disciples (Judas was dead) went to Galilee, they saw Jesus, and they worshiped him, but scripture tells us that some doubted (See: Matt. 28). Then, he spoke to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV84).

Since we are to obey everything Jesus commanded his disciples, unless his commands were obviously meant for a specific person (or people) and a particular situation, then we, as well, are to go, and we are to make disciples (followers) of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything Christ commanded his disciples. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We are to let our lights shine before all people so that they may glorify God when they see our good works (of the Spirit). We are not to be ashamed of Christ and of his gospel, but we are to tell people the Good News of salvation so that many will have the opportunity to receive Christ as Savior, too. And, we are to teach them, too, about holy living, and about what it means to walk with our Lord in fellowship with him daily, reading his word, praying, and doing what he tells us to do.

They Were Afraid

In Mark’s gospel we read that the women fled the tomb in astonishment, and that they told no one about what they had just experienced, because they were afraid. Yet, in the other three gospels we read something a little different from that. In Matthew we read that the women, although afraid, were filled with joy, and they ran to tell his disciples. Along the way, Jesus met them. He encouraged them not to be afraid, but to go tell his brothers (his disciples) to go to Galilee and there they would see him. In Luke’s gospel we read that the women, when they came back from the tomb, told the eleven disciples all the things they had seen and heard, but they were not believed.

And, in John’s gospel we have Mary Magdalene running to Peter and John, telling them that Jesus had been taken away from the tomb, and she didn’t know where he had been taken. Peter and John then ran to the tomb and saw for themselves that Jesus was gone, then they went back to their homes. Mary stood by the tomb crying. Two angels spoke with her, and then she saw Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. When he said her name, “Mary,” she knew who he was, and she cried out “Teacher!” Then, Jesus told her to go tell his brothers (his disciples) that Jesus was returning to his Father. Mary then went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and she told them the words he had spoken to her.

I have no issue with the various accounts, though, because they were written by people who gave individual witness to various parts of the same whole. The bottom line is that Jesus was crucified, he was resurrected from the dead, there were women at the tomb, they were witnesses to his resurrection, they were told to go and tell his disciples, and his disciples were given the message, and they did go to Galilee where they met with Jesus. It could be that when Mark said the women told no one, he was speaking of no one outside the disciples. We don’t know for sure. So, what can we learn from this which we can apply to our own lives today?

For one, Jesus has told us much as to what we can expect in this life as his followers. His Word teaches us what it means to be a follower of Christ, and of the cost of following Jesus, i.e. that we will suffer in much the same way as he did. We learn that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. We learn that faith in Jesus Christ means we no longer walk according to our sinful flesh, but we now conduct our lives according to the Spirit. We are taught, as well, that God’s grace to us is not a license to continue in sin, for his grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return. In addition to all this, we learn that we, too, are to go and to make disciples (followers) of Christ of people from all nations, which we can do via the internet presently, in America, as well as in person.

We can learn, too, that there is a difference between having the emotion of fear, and walking in fear. I read a secular book 16 years ago titled “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” The title says it all! Even if we are afraid emotionally, we can go against our fears in the power of the Spirit within us, and we can do what, in the flesh, we can’t do, which is to bear witness to Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation. So many times I have felt fear but I walked in the Spirit in obeying my Lord, and when I did, the feeling of fear dissipated.

There are many reasons why Christians might be afraid to go and tell people the gospel message. Some of them are pretty lame excuses, which stem from fear of rejection or pure laziness or apathy. Others have more legitimate reasons for feeling fear, such as persecution, torture, and loss of family, homes, or employment, or even death. Yet, when empowered by the Spirit of God within us, we should not let any feelings (emotions) of fear ever stand in our way from talking with people about Jesus and his message of salvation. The Holy Spirit will give us the words to say, and nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose. If they kill us, we just get to go be with Jesus. And, God will see us through whatever he allows us to go through on this earth. He will never abandon us. We can always count on him, and we can trust in his many promises to us.

Fear Not, Little Flock / An Original Work
Based off Luke 12 / February 10, 2016

Fear not, little flock,
Your Lord’s always near.
Jesus will come and
Wipe every tear.
Trust in His mercy,
Rest in His love.
He’ll give you comfort
From heaven above.

Our precious Redeemer,
Jesus, our friend,
He will be with us,
True to the end.
He will not leave you,
Faithful He’ll be.
Believe His promises,
Rest on His knee.

Our God, and provider,
He knows our need.
He’ll not forsake you.
Follow His lead.
He’ll love and comfort you
To the end.
Know, on His Word,
You can always depend.