Scripture is full of people being afraid and being told, “don’t be afraid.” What was so frightening about God?
In the last 1000 years (a millennium after Jesus), our European ancestors in faith developed strong imagery around hell and the fires of damnation. And then we got sermons like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards in 1741. That’s scary stuff!
But in Scripture, that’s not what people were afraid of. In fact, the worst thing God could do was not send you to hell, but abandon you. The fear in Scripture was based in the belief that if you looked on the face of God, you would die. God’s majesty was too much for mortal eyes.
The truth is that I think we have the same fear. We’re pretty comfortable with God on our good days, when we think we’ve got it together and we think God stays at a safe distance. But when a crisis happens, and we know we haven’t got it together, we suddenly become very aware of our desperate need for God, and God’s closeness. And we get afraid.
And then we hear again, “do not be afraid” and “come follow me.”
— Pastor Mia