Yesterday, we examined that Jesus teaches us that fear is attributable to a lack of faith. Does that seem harsh? Think about it. The guys in the boat were scared out of their wits, and what does Jesus tell them? He asks them two questions. “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Sometimes I imagine how the scene would have look had I been there. I can kind of imagine what it would have been like in that violent storm because I nearly drowned as a teenager. There was no wind, but the water was certainly a danger to me. I remember coming to shore, under my own power, totally exhausted to the point that I couldn’t see (everything was black). Like the men in the boat with Jesus, there was a sudden calm. I would imagine these guys would have been exhausted, too, from rowing frantically to keep the boat headed into the wind.
So, what does Jesus say? “Why are you so afraid?” “Have you still no faith?”
How do you suppose he said this? We don’t have much for colorfully descriptive language in the text, except perhaps the word “still.” We really don’t know how he said it. Maybe he said it with the compassion or patience of a parent who is holding a small child who got a boo-boo. Or, maybe he was impatient with grown men who haven’t learned basic lessons directly from the miracle-machine himself. These guys had seen mind-blowing things, over and over. Could it be that there was an edge of rebuke in Jesus’ response? Perhaps it was a full-bore chastisement. Would it be out of the question for God to get ticked at a student?
In any case, we do know that this lesson was meant to be learned and learned well. Jesus intended them to be men who lived without fear. Indeed, we see they eventually did because they later went boldly forth to their death, proclaiming Jesus as risen. However, that bravery didn’t come immediately after the storm episode. In fact, we see great fear in Peter as he denied even knowing Jesus. They weren’t there when Jesus was crucified. They hid themselves after Jesus died (John 20:19). After the stuff hit the fan, these guys didn’t go out in public until one day something big happened.
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
v. 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.
Let’s just look at one more quickly.
Acts 5:40-42 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Guess what, folks? We who believe have that same Spirit as did those apostles.
Romans 8:9-11 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit who dwells in you.
Now, you may say that you don’t have that kind of fearlessness that the apostles had. I would maintain that you do; you just don’t realize it.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting Spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
Jesus taught his disciples to be without fear. He taught them fear was simply a lack of faith. We have the Spirit of Christ living right inside of us. Now, the Spirit is teaching Spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
So, you have the ability, right inside of you, today, to live a life without fear. It’s a matter of faith. Seek more faith and you will find courage for any storm you may face.
Father, I believe. Help my unbelief. Show me. Increase my faith. I desire to be without fear. I desire to be fearless in you to proclaim your name. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers