The week before Easter, I fasted and prayed. I had a list of 3 things I was praying faithfully for break through on. The fasting of my favorite vices symbolized dying to myself in order to experience newness on Easter Day in the same way that Jesus died on the cross and rose again in order to give us new life in Him.
During this time, I decided to read the book of Luke, which accounts for Jesus ministry, healings, teachings, prophecies and time leading up to His arrest, death, and resurrection. As I read straight through the story with a deeper thirst to understand the reason of the story, the Lord highlighted some things I had never noticed before. I feel like I have found a new understanding of a powerful gift Jesus died to give us and it has changed my life as of April 5th.
In a nutshell, Jesus died to obliterate our fear, particularly our fear of people, people pleasing and the need for approval. Check out these exciting findings to see what I mean.
1. The Pharisees Fear
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, the pharisees and Jewish leaders hated him and were constantly trying to deceive him into incriminating himself. Everywhere Jesus taught, they would show up and question him to try to trap him, but Jesus knew their motives and always answered with divine wisdom and revelational, paradigm-shifting parables.
In their mission to destroy Jesus, they were afraid of losing their power through losing the people. Even though they were the leaders of the people and Jesus was a carpenter’s son, they were too afraid of the people to speak against Jesus in crowds or to arrest him in front of a group of people.
They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.
The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd.
Have you ever noticed that Satan entered Judas to drive him to this act of betrayal?
But Jesus said in John 5:41-44,
I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?”
Jesus modeled to us the freedom we have as Christians to operate boldly for the God’s glory, knowing we are safe and secure in Him. Therefore, we do no have to waste our time competing and comparing ourselves to others.
2. Herod and Pilate’s Fear:
The second thing that stood out to me was that when Jesus was arrested, not even the King and Governor would stand up against the people to do what they knew was right. First, Jesus was brought to Pilate to be sentenced. But Pilate knew that the Jews were jealous of Jesus and that he was innocent. Because Pilate was afraid of the people, but also wanted to keep his hands clean, he sent him off to King Herod to be sentenced. The scripture says that Herod was pleased to see Jesus hoping that we would perform a miracle.
After Herod also found Jesus innocent, he sent him back to Pilate to handle. Pilate was perplexed on what to do.
Profoundly, “While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” Matthew 27:19.
After Pilate asked the crowds 3 times why he should convict Jesus to crucifixion and the demand for his death only got louder, he washed his hands of Jesus blood and gave him over to the people to “do with him as they pleased.”
But check this part out; That day Herod and Pilate became friends–before this they had been enemies. Luke 23:12.
Herod and Pilate became friends on the day they allowed the Savior of the World to be crucified, when they had always been enemies before? Why is this little sentence never talked about?
When I read this, my spirit immediately told me that Herod and Pilate bonded over their guilt and fear of the people.
Throughout Jesus’s ministry and teaching, he constantly said, “do not be afraid, have no fear, fear not.”
My favorite one is, “Do not be afraid, just have faith.” Luke 8:50
Then, he did the ultimate act of eradicating our fear. He obliterated the sting of death. He totally took our fear of death away when he fulfilled the prophesies and rose again on the third day. In doing this, he gave us the promise of eternal paradise and the inheritance of heavenly citizenship. We are no longer citizens of the earth. We are seated with Jesus in heavenly places. Our time here is temporary and the whole point is to be transformed every day into the image of the anointed one and in doing so, be a foretaste of heaven to everyone in our realm of influence fearlessly.
The Disciple’s Fear:
Even the disciples were afraid and remained in the upper room until Jesus sent them the Holy Spirit.
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22.
After receiving the Holy Spirit, they went out boldly and preached the gospel to all nations.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
We never have to fear rejection anymore in doing what is good, right, noble and true because this world isn’t our home. This fearless confidence is exactly why the apostles and believers across centuries have stood firm in their faith in the face of murder, singing hymns and praising God while being martyred. They were not afraid to die because taking a stand for Jesus was a death away from being released of their bodies into their true home of eternal paradise.
Our roots are in heaven and our branches extend out in the world in order to be peculiar, to stand out for Christ. -T.D. Jakes
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