The Reading: Matthew 28:1-15
“Do not be afraid” (v.10) RSV
The women left the tomb “with fear and great joy” (v.8). Afraid, no doubt because the awesome power of God was at work; the empty tomb was totally beyond explanation. People fear what they do not understand. But fear on its own can be debilitating, and will undermine faith.
Jesus met them as they fled off towards the disciples. Certainly they were experiencing “great joy” (v.8), but they still carried fear with them. Jesus wanted to dispel that fear before it took root and did harm. “Do not be afraid” (v.10) he said. He did not tell them that there was no need to be afraid. He gave them an order. Fear can be controlled. We can either give way to it and let it sweep over us, or we can listen to the voice of the Lord: “Fear not” (v.10).
With the Lord by our side there is never anything to fear. He has all things under control, whether we understand it or not. “In everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Fear is from the devil who undermines our calm trust in a loving God. But fearlessness comes from our God, for “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John. 4:18).
Many things can frighten us: a shouting teacher, a school bully, an abusive father or husband, a falling Stock Market, bad news from the doctor, a dark and lonely house. Each time fear knocks at our door we need to hear those words of Jesus, “Do not fear” (v.10). Remember also the words of Peter when he uses the example of Abraham’s wife Sarah: “And you are now her (Sarah’s) children if you do right and let nothing terrify you.” (1 Peter 3:6)
Forgive me, O Lord, when I give way to fears and worries. Help me to trust you in all circumstances, and indeed to know great joy. Amen.
1. What did God say to Joshua?
2. What did David say to his son Solomon?
1 Chronicles 28:20