Far from the jingle bells and dancing plums the events leading to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ were filled with fright. Mary and Joseph were both fearful of the path the LORD called them to take. After his birth the Christ child was threatened with death as the wretched King Herod sought to exterminate the newborn king.
The story of the Nativity is glued together with courage and faith in the face of fear. And not just for Joseph and Mary. The LORD enters into this world of idolatry as an infant. The Incarnation is the bold act of God becoming vulnerable. The boldness of God to come in the flesh results in conflicts throughout the Gospels.
The vulnerability of Christ culminates when Roman and Jewish leaders utilize death to threaten Jesus to cry “uncle” and renege on being the Word made flesh. These enemies of the Kingdom utilize death to silence the Prince of Peace. For Jesus death on the cross is real. As fully human he must decide who he fears more; who he trusts more.
Over this past year for our god-less world the reality of death has plunged billions of people into fear. As this world does not have the LORD God to fear and trust, it has only death to fear. It is the godless’ ultimate god. The lack of belief has made death an idol. We have idolized death as we have given it our fear.
BUT we, you and I, the people of God, are to fear and love the Lord our God. “What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut 10:12–Ps 103:17).
Yes, death is real. In spite of all our medicine and creature comforts, death never stopped being our enemy.
But with boldness the LORD became vulnerable in the flesh under the curse of death. With boldness and courage Christ took on our sin and death so we can freely approach his throne of grace (Eph 3:12).
The Word of God died on the cross and raised from the dead so we with all boldness and courage may live lives of God’s grace. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” (2 Tim 1:7).
- Are you reeling in fear?
- What are the fears tormenting you?
- How are you taking these fears to the Lord?
- Are you listening to the Word of God?
”Who among you fears the Lord and obeys His word? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.” (Isaiah 50:10)
Like you I am seeking to rely on my God.
Your servant in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Douglas Schoelles