Be Not Afraid
Scripture Reading — Matthew 28:1-10
"Do not be afraid ... He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." Matthew 28:5-6 —
Don't be afraid. This is the most common command in the Bible. Don't be afraid, not even in graveyards.
I heard of a doctor who bought the words Be Not Afraid cut out of steel. He wanted to hang the phrase in the children's ward of a hospital. The thought of those words in a place full of sick children and anxious parents cuts to the quick. Be not afraid! But isn't this world frightfully threatening even to our little ones? Yes it is, but there is God, and he is stronger even than death.
In his book Our Greatest Gift, Henri Nouwen tells of a conversation he had with a trapeze artist. Nouwen asked the flyer, "What is it like?" The flyer answered, "The public thinks I am the star, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. I must completely trust my catcher. The worst thing a flyer can do is to try and catch the catcher. The flyer does nothing but trust with outstretched arms, that the catcher will be there for him."
Nouwen writes, "The words of Jesus flashed through my mind. ?Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.'" (See Luke 23:46.) Dying well involves trusting in the catcher, and Easter vindicates that trust.
Don't be afraid. Remember whose you are. He'll be there in your living and in your dying. Don't try to grab him; he will grab you. "Just stretch out your arms and trust, trust, trust" (Nouwen).
Gracious God, as you raised Jesus Christ, raise us also in him and give us a great confidence in your victory through him, our Lord and Savior. In his name, Amen.