In Psalm 23:4, David writes, “I will fear no evil.”
David drew strength from knowing God was with him in his struggles and that God loved him deeply.
Fear is something we all experience at times in our lives.
Sometimes we fear the unknown or repeating what we have experienced in the past. Fear can come when we hear of something that may happen or even not hearing a word of reassurance.
There are four times that different ones were told, “Fear not” during the time leading up to and after the birth of Christ.
First, in Luke 1:5-25, we are told of an older couple who are referred to as “well stricken in years” or naturally too old to have children. Zacharias and Elisabeth were praying for a child in earlier years, but no child ever came.
Zacharias was a priest in the temple at Jerusalem and he was one who brought incense into the temple. While he was doing his service, he was approached by an angel.
The sight of the angel caused Zacharias to be fearful. The angel was quick to say to Zacharias, “Fear not.” The angel told Zacharias his prayers from the past were heard and that he and his wife were going to have a child in their old age.
They were to name him John and he was going to be the one who would announce the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and prepare the way for him. John’s work would be the fulfilment of prophecy found in Isaiah 40:3.
Second, in Luke 1:26-38, we read of the same angel, named Gabriel, who came to Mary. This time, the angel told Mary that she was highly favoured and blessed among women.
When Mary heard this saying, she was in wonder concerning what this all meant. The angel said to her, “fear not, Mary.”
Then the angel told her of the wonderful things that were going to happen through her. At one point, Mary asked the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
The angel responded, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the son of God.”
Mary’s response to the angel was, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” Mary’s fear was alleviated and we read the angel departed from her.
Third, we read in Matthew 1:18-25 that Mary’s husband-to-be was going to quietly put Mary away and their marriage would not happen.
Joseph thought something terrible had happened, seeing Mary was going to have a child. Joseph was thinking about what he should do when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.
In the dream, the angel addressed Joseph, saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”
So Joseph, being assured all was well, did take Mary to be his wife. His fear was changed to wonder and Joseph’s life would never be the same again.
Matthew then quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, which reads, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Fourth, we read in Luke 2:8-20 of the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night outside the town of Bethlehem.
This time the angel came to them and we read the glory of the Lord shone all around them and they were sore afraid.
But the angel said to them, “Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
The angel told them that they would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Suddenly, there was a vast number of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
The shepherds went to find the newborn child and rejoiced.
Let us who are surrounded by fear take heed to the heavenly messengers and fear not, for the Saviour has come to give us everlasting life by laying down his life for us.
John Eggers is an elder in the assembly that meets in Westsyde Gospel Hall in Kamloops. KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and include a headshot of the author, along with a short bio. Send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.