We love to contemplate God’s lavish love and amazing grace, His kindness extended to such undeserving sinners. But there is great wisdom in fearing Him, if it were not so, Jesus would not have warned His friends.
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” [12:4-5]
Biblical fear. We attempt to explain it as an act of holy reverence towards Almighty God. But in this context, and in the original language, the word translated from Greek as fear means “to put in fear, terrify, frighten,” (from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance G5399).
When we consider Who He Is, in reality wouldn’t we be foolish not to be frightened? I was actually “frightened” into saving faith when I heard His words from Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
It was a terrifying reality to consider myself being spit out of His mouth; and by His grace, I responded to Him Who Must Be Feared.
Oh, such kindness and grace, that Jesus warns His hearers. Not all will hear and heed His counsel, and perhaps this is why He directed His warning to His friends, fully expecting His friends to pay attention. And although we live in a world fret with troubles and danger, we are not to fear the temporal. Jesus did not hold back; He emphatically warned us, we are in fact, to fear God.
Consider Him Who Must Be Feared
- He Must Be Feared; for He Exposes Hypocrisy
- Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. [12:1-2]
- He Must Be Feared; for He Has Authority Over Eternity
- But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! [12:5]
- He Must Be Feared; for He is Omniscient
- Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. [12:6-7]
- He Must Be Feared; for He is Holy
- but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him. [12:10]
- He Must Be Feared; for He is All-Sufficient Provider
- Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! … 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? [12:24, 27-28]
- He Must Be Feared; for He Will Come Again
- You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect. [12:40]
- He Must Be Feared; for He Will Demand Accountability
- …From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. [12:51]
How do we respond to Him Who Must Be Feared?
Jesus warned us we are to fear God. That, in itself should be all the motivation we need; and when we fear God we will be changed.
Self-examination time: Are we being changed?
- Fearing Him leads to reverent obedience and even, saving faith.
- “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy… 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! … 8 “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; [12:1, 5, 8]
- Fearing Him expels worry.
- When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”…And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on… 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?” [12:11-12, 22, 25-26]
- Fearing Him aligns our priorities.
- But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. [12:31-32]
- Fearing Him prepares us to live alert and ready for His return.
- Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; [12:35-37]
- Fearing Him strengthens our resolve to stand for Him.
- Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided… [12:51-53]
- Fearing Him equips us to understand and analyze the times.
- And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. 55 And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?”
- Fearing Him strengthens our earthly relationships.
- “For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him,” [12:58]
Lord Jesus, may we seriously heed Your warning and by faith fear Him Who Must Be Feared. Grow us by Your grace that we would be changed.
Let’s Grow Together!