Fear or faith? Do we really believe that Jesus loves us and that Jesus is God, and therefore, God loves us?
2 Every man [person] appears righteous to himself, but the Lord makes hearts right.
While John the Baptizer was in prison, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3). It’s a fair and straightforward question. Jesus answered him rather obliquely by quoting Isaiah 35:5-6,
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
To understand the import of what Jesus was quoting to John, let’s look at the verses before His quote,
1The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2 it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance [judgment],
with the recompense [the discernment] of God.
He will come and save you.”
Verses 1 and 2 speak poetically of John and his coming from the wilderness with the Great News that the Messiah is coming!
Verse 3 speaks of John’s message to get ready.
Verse 4 tells us to not be afraid. What a unique thought! Shouldn’t we fear God? Does he not say that the Lord is coming with vengeance and recompense? But, then he says that God has come to save us. Here is another opportunity for us to see the dualism of God’s perspective vs. man’s perspective. The LXX says “Be comforted, you fainthearted. Be strong, do not fear. Behold, our God renders judgment and will render it. He will come to save us.” The exhortation to not fear and that He comes with salvation enables us to see God’s judgment as His discernment of what we need. We Need Jesus! So, He sent John the Baptizer to make the way ready for our Savior.
John the Baptizer’s disciples went back to John. It never says that they returned and followed Jesus. John himself encouraged them to do so, “He must increase, I must decrease.” “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We know of two disciples that did, Andrew and probably John himself.
How about you? Do you fear God? He would not have you do so. In fact, the apostle John tells us in his letter that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). If we take Isaiah’s words to heart, we will understand that Jesus came to teach us to not fear God, but to love Him. We cannot approach someone we fear, and Jesus wants us to come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
Abba, I love the fact that You do not want us to fear You. Everyone who walks in Your light walks in Your life, as well. You are our source of joy and peace, comfort and love. May we always think of You in the plural: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three in One. We bask in the Fellowship of the Trinity! Amen.