Fear is a strong motivator in our culture. There are many of us who live our entire lives under the weight of some fear. In reading the biblical accounts surrounding Good Friday, the theme of fear takes a dominant place in many of the stories.
The Chief Priests and officials are afraid of the challenge Jesus poses to all that they hold dear. They fear change, loss of power, cultural upheaval and it drives them to plan and implement the murder of Jesus.
Pilate’s fear of the people, of Caesar, and of failure forces a compromise in his soul leading to the death of a man he has declared innocent.
The centurion and guards are stunned and immobilized by their fear as they watch the death of the one they declare to be the Son of God.
Joseph and Nicodemus (pharisees) are so afraid of the Jews that they bury Jesus in secret. Their fear keeps them from standing for the one who they believe holds the only hope for the future of their people. They have waited a lifetime for their Messiah and when he comes, they are too afraid to own him.
The disciples’ fear of death causes them to abandon the Savior they have come to treasure and love as a dear brother.
But on that Good Friday, there was one who embraced Jesus and trusted him for forgiveness. That thief who hung next to him on a cross, had already lost everything. He had nothing of this world to hang onto, to fear losing and in that found eternal life.
Our fear robs us of the one thing that can save us, give us hope, release us from the bondage of so many burdens. Only as we let go of all that is temporary can we take hold of that which is eternal.
- Patrick Foutz
Pastor, Redemption Fellowship