“Fear no one”

In Matthew 10: 26-33, Jesus has sent the Twelve throughout Israel and He tells them to trust the Father.

Jesus said to the Twelve:
Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

In this chapter of Matthew, Jesus is sending the Twelve into the villages and towns of Israel to teach and do His good works. He has told them how travel, how to live, and how to preach. At close to the end of the chapter, He tells them, “Fear no one.” Of all the bad things that can happen, of all the powers that can be, nothing and no one is more powerful than God, and he loves you — he loves you so much he knows every hair on your head. What’s more, Jesus himself will account for the faithful before the heavenly Father. So, don’t be afraid; trust in the love of God.

We live in a time of fear. Fear is stoked, for many reasons. We are told to fear each other and all others; they are rapists and cheaters and conspirators and sinners, we are told. Only “we” are righteous and pious, they tell us — just trust “us”. But that is not the message that Jesus teaches us. God loves and protects us.

In many other places in the Gospels, Jesus teaches us not to fear. Not to judge others. Not to condemn others. Rather, to love and embrace others, even to love and pray for our enemies. To love our neighbors as ourselves.

Fear is a powerful force. If we give in to fear, it is a destabilizing and paralyzing force. That’s not what God wants for us. God wants us to go out into the world and share His love, His compassion, and His mercy. He doesn’t want us to fear.

Fear no one. Go forth with the love of God. Glory be to God!

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