He placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Rev. 1:17-18
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s timely, stunning, and encouraging to realize that the most repeated command throughout the whole Bible is “Do not be afraid—do not fear.” The angels spoke these words to startled shepherds at your birth, and you repeated the command to a devastated Mary on the morning of your resurrection. Now you speak these liberating words into our hearts unnerving stories: “Do not be afraid!”
Because you are the First and the Last, Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of anything between Alpha and Omega. You are God, and we are not. You’ll never have to say “Oops” about anything in world history, or in our stories. You never “try” to do anything. You never have to scratch your head in confusion. You never have to resort to plan B. You are perfectly executing your sovereign will, from naming the stars to numbering our hairs. Glory!
Because you are the Living One, who was dead and who is now alive forever, we don’t have to be afraid of Judgment Day or this day; for your death on the cross was our Judgment Day, and your resurrection is our assurance of being eternally and fully accepted by God. Now the refrain that’s constantly sung over us by the whole Trinity is, “There is now and forevermore no condemnation for those who are in Christ!” Not only is there no condemnation, there is only full delight! What wondrous love is this, indeed!
Lord Jesus, because you hold the keys of death and Hades, and to everything else, we don’t have to be afraid to die or to live. You’ve robbed the grave of its victory, you have removed the sting of death, and you have defeated the devil and all the powers of darkness! We don’t have to be afraid of people and their opinions.
We don’t have to be afraid of world powers and terror. We don’t have to be afraid of failure and its consequences. We don’t have to be afraid of not being enough or having enough. We don’t have to be afraid of getting older or being forgotten. Yes, yes, YES!
You will never leave or forsake us, Jesus. We’re secure and held compassionately, in the palm of your hand. The saints in heaven are joyful than we are, but not more loved. Free us more fully from our fears that we might live more fully to your glory. So very Amen we pray, in your loving and powerful name.