Do not be afraid Luke 12:32-40
By Rev. Canon David B. Tabo-oy
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12.32 (ESV)
Fear. I believe that this is the great equalizer among normal human beings aside from of course death itself. We all have our own fears. What happens tomorrow? Will I survive all these difficulties in life? How? Maybe these questions and other lighter ones have crossed our thoughts. Uncertainties bring anxieties and anxieties create fear in our hearts. Aside from our physical and material related fears a more subtle yet deep-seated fear that haunts every person… is on the spiritual realm. But then the spiritual and the physical cannot be separated because they form our whole being. Thus, in our searching of assurance to assuage our anxieties and fears, Jesus in our lesson this Sunday provides that assurance and tells us how to combat our fears either they be physical and material or spiritual.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” These are Jesus’ assuring words to his disciples who are at that time afraid. The cause of their fears are the words of warning that Jesus told them earlier in this chapter. Jesus mentioned that they should beware of the scheming people – the hypocrite Pharisees and him who has the authority to cast one into hell – Satan himself. He also told them not to be anxious about material things because God will provide (v.22). The assuring words of Jesus covers our physical-material and spiritual fears and anxieties. However, these assuring words of Jesus have its requisites or conditions: v33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. v34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…..v35″Stay dressed for actionf and keep your lamps burning,.. To paraphrase these verses, ‘you must be other-centred and be ready for His coming again’. Wow! How unconventional to overcome fear and anxiety.
I am no psychologist or a person expert on human behaviour but experience tells us that most of our anxieties and fears are related to our self-preservation or survival obsessions, our animal instinct. Jesus is telling us to go beyond that animal instinct and be who we are, that is, created in the image of God. To be that is to veer away from our self-centeredness and be more sensitive to the needs of others. Secondary to Jesus’ advice to his disciples to be worry-free is to be ready. Ready for what? The eventual coming again of Jesus as judge and king. Since we do not know when – that He might come again even after our lifetime, our readiness must include our eventual leaving this life before such will happen. v40You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” How?
The coming again of our Lord to be judge and king, the New Testament believers knew no other attitude than that it was near and could happen at any time. Every believer was called on to be spiritually ready at all times and to wait for the return of the Lord. This norm is enjoined on all true believers in Christ. Believers must be so bound to the Lord as their greatest treasure that their hope and longing is the return of Jesus. Believers must be dressed and ready, waiting for the uncertain time of Christ’s coming, Christ’s coming is imminent i.e. he could come at any time. The believer must be waiting and looking for Christ himself, not for a complex of events that might begin at any time. The same should be our mode of expectation and readiness. Expectation for Christ’s coming again and our fears and our fear of death and death itself this old English prayer can sum up our wish and our readiness.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
bless the bed that I lie on.
Before I lay me down to sleep,
I give my soul to Christ to keep.
Four corners to my bed,
four angels there aspread,
two to foot, and two to head,
and two to carry me when I’m dead.
I go by sea, I go by land,
the Lord made me by his right hand.
If any danger comes to me,
Sweet Jesus Christ, deliver me.
He’s the branch, and I’m the flower,
pray God send me a happy hour.
And if I die before I wake,
I pray that Christ my soul will take.
The prayer has an important refrain, that Christ is the keeper, the caretaker of our soul. And, when we slip into the unconsciousness of the night I suppose, on a daily bases, we are never nearer death. It was out of this fear of sleep that this prayer was written. At night, when we are vulnerable, we want someone watching over us. So, we prepare ourselves with a prayer: If I should die before I wake… Our text this morning asks us to be prepared, to be dressed ready for service. We are to keep our lamps burning for we do not know when our Lord returns. (sermons.com)
Let us pray.
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are tight, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (ECP-BCP Proper 14)