March 10, 2017

Last week in the blog, I talked about giving up fear in our lives! We often do not want to confront the truth because we are afraid of what it might be and that we cannot handle it. This is exactly what happened to the disciples. They had seen all of the wonderful and amazing things He was doing. He was healing the sick and blessing people; and they really believed Jesus was going to be the Messiah and somehow overthrow the Roman government, establish the kingdom of Israel and they were all going to have places of power and position. But Jesus on the other hand, saw opposition building. He saw the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the temple and they were threatened by Jesus’ message. They felt he was against the old traditions and their ways and they came together to see how they could stop Him.

Jesus seemed to understand the authorities could be a big problem. So, Jesus told his disciples that he would be betrayed and handed over to authorities. I like the way the Bible says it, “They didn’t understand, but they were afraid to ask Him any questions.” The reason they were afraid was not that they thought Jesus wouldn’t answer them; they were afraid to ask the questions because they didn’t want to hear the answers. They were afraid of what the answer might be, and they couldn’t handle it, so they decided to just not ask the questions; they’d rather deny it than face the truth. So, when the moment came and Jesus was betrayed, they were not prepared. The fear they were harboring began to separate them from Jesus; and when the moment came, they all ran away in terror. Just three things I want to share today about fear!

First, reality doesn’t change when we deny it. When we confront reality, we can change how we choose to react to it. What if the disciples had asked Jesus more questions? If they had confronted the truth, they would have had time to start preparing mentally, spiritually and physically for this difficult moment. It would have been devastating, still, but they wouldn’t have run away in panic and terror and could have avoided betraying one another. They would have handled it in a very different way, if they had confronted the reality.

Second, what the disciples would learn after the resurrection was that Jesus would always be with them. They had a strength from beyond themselves that they didn’t know they would have; that Jesus would not desert them; they would have the strength to confront more difficult situations than they ever imagined and they could do it. The Apostle Paul learned discovered this very quickly and said, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content; I know how to be abased and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the seret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want; I can do all things thorugh Jesu Christ who strengthens me.”

Third, if you find yourself in a dark time, afraid to face the truth, do not close your eyes, but keep them open to see God’s light illuminating the way! Years ago, I got into a habit whenever I was feeling overwhelmed and afraid of what might happen and what the truth might be, I found myself reciting the 23rd Psalm to myself while lying in bed. I would repeat the words over and over, relishing the meaning of each verse. I would remember that truly, it is God who is the Shepherd, and I am the sheep. I find that as I say this over and over and meditate on the meaning, in the midst of the dark and fear, I feel God’s presence and I find a new strength to face the truth.