Read Matt 10:24–42
Mat 10:28-35 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (29) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (30) But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (32) So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, (33) but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (34) “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
To fear or not to fear, that is the question. Or perhaps it is who to fear or how to fear the Fear of Jacob. Who and what we are not to fear is simple. We are not to fear people or the world. They can torture us, behead us, sell us into slavery, rape and murder us. Yet we are not to fear them. Whatever they can do us as Christians is transitory. It can only last as long as we are in the world. But it will not last forever.
What God can do to us is forever though. Therefore he is rightly feared. Not only can God destroy the body but he can torture it and the soul forever in the fires of hell. Yet the proper fear of God is trust and love, in him and towards him. And Jesus gives us a good reason to fear, love and trust and God. He has the very hairs of our head numbered and we are worth more than birds. Remember Jesus said earlier before we pray God knows what we are going to pray and answers our prayers. He said our Father in heaven knows what we need and is going to provide us these things as we seek his kingdom and his righteousness. He is going to give us all good things and not bad things when we pray. So we can fear God, love and trust our Father in heaven.
Jesus gives us this encouragement because we are going to face all sorts of trial and tribulations in our life which will cause us to doubt God really loves us and is on our side. So he calls us to remain faithful unto him. He calls us to confess his name before men and hold to this confession always. If we do this he promises to be faithful to us and to confess us as his own before the Father in heaven. The peace we have before God comes at a price. As we possess this peace before our heavenly Father, we will not know peace with the world. Jesus doesn’t bring peace but a sword. His sword divides those who trust in him and those who do not. Those who do not trust him raise up their own sword against God and his people, whether strangers, family or friends. In the face of the sword, remain faithful to Jesus and you will inherit a crown of eternal life.
Heavenly Father, may we ever possess that peace knowing we are worth more to you than birds, we are worth the very life of your Son, Jesus. Grant us your Spirit and faith that we may ever confess the name of Jesus especially in the midst of persecution. Amen.