Even in this advanced space age, fear is still the number one problem of nations, leaders and individuals. The message of Christmas is that God has the answer to fear. Learn how you can be free from the fears that torment you.
Four times in the Gospel record of the great event of Christmas the message is sent from God to man — “Fear Not”. It is the continuing message of God right throughout the Bible, from the Garden of Eden to the Book of Revelation. Eighty times the message comes clear and strong — “Fear Not”. From angels, prophets, apostles, martyrs and Christ Himself comes the command, appeal and exhortation to “Fear Not”. Yes, the Bible has as much to say upon the subject of fear and worry as it does on other great truths.
As we contemplate the great story of Christmas within the framework of these two powerful words, the message of God becomes personal. Personal and powerful, because God says to you today “Fear Not”. Whatever your situation, here are the reasons why you need not fear!
Fear Not… God Answers Prayer
The first scene that comes before our eyes is the temple at Jerusalem. It is the hour of prayer and the priests are burning incense as part of the worship of God. From all outward appearances it is no different from any other day in the temple (Luke 1:8-10).
A certain priest named Zacharias was engaged in this duty in the Holy Place, whilst outside a multitude of people were praying. Suddenly there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord, who stood on the right side of the altar of incense. Immediately fear came upon him because of this sudden turn of events. Have you ever been frightened when something new and unexpected comes before you? Fear is always active in these circumstances of life.
However, the moment the angel saw what effect his presence had made on Zacharias, his first words were “Fear Not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard.” We are told that both he and his wife Elisabeth were getting on in years, and so far they had no children. This fact had been a regular matter for prayer, for God is a specialist in miracles. And now the angel brings the comforting message that their prayers have been heard, and God was about to answer!
God has not promised that He will send an angel to let you know that your prayers have been heard. Such a thing is unnecessary for the Christian of today, for the Word of God gives us the assurance that our prayers are heard (I John 5:14). And thousands are proving daily that God still does answer prayer! Have you tried the avenue of prayer as a help in life’s many battles? “Fear Not”… God does answer prayer!
Fear Not… God Loves You Dearly
The next incident takes place some months later in the city of Nazareth in Galilee. A young woman, going about her duties, was suddenly confronted by an angel who said: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee” (Luke 1:28). At once she was overcome with fear, coupled with concern as to the meaning of the words. But the angel spoke again: “Fear Not, Mary; God loves you dearly” (Luke 1:30 Phillips). What a beautiful message, what a needful message! All over the world, people need to know this Christmas that God loves them. Do you have the assurance of God’s love to you? It comes from accepting Christ as your own personal Savior. When you trust in the Lord, then you will know and experience the love of God toward you.
Mary’s response to the promise of a son, given by the angel, is interesting. It is the response that God desires from you and from me as a result of His love toward us. Here it is from Luke 1:38, (Phillips): “I belong to the Lord, body and soul. Let it happen as you say”. Is God directing your life and circumstances? This is what it means to say “I belong to the Lord”. It is no idle statement, but a declaration of your relationship to God. Yes friend, God says to you again this Christmas: “Fear Not, I love you dearly.” What is your response?
Fear Not… God Will Guide You
Turning to Matthew chapter one, we see the effect of the previous incident upon Joseph. Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married. This was not the seemingly light thing it is today, but a contract which could only be broken by divorce. For Mary to be found with child at this time exposed her to shame and death by stoning. This is why we read that Joseph desired to divorce her privately. “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, Fear Not to take unto thee Mary thy wife” (Matthew 1:20).
Psalm 37:23 tells us that the steps of a good man are guided by the Lord. God is always willing to help us and show us the way to go when we are in difficult circumstances. He has promised to guide us through the Bible, by the Holy Spirit, and also through circumstances. God has a plan for you… the best plan for your life! Will you seek His guidance? Fear Not… God will guide you.
Fear Not… God Has Provided For You Personally
The final scene takes us to the moonlit hills of Bethlehem, as recorded in Luke chapter 2. It was here that the temple flocks were kept until needed as sacrifices for the worship of God. And it was here that the world was soon to see the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world — your sin and mine.
One night some shepherds were suddenly startled by another angelic appearance, and with a very similar result to those already discussed. The shepherds “were sore afraid” — terror-stricken. But the angel said unto them, “Fear Not… behold a Savior” (Luke 2:10-11). The answer to fear then is the Savior, Christ the Lord. And to prove that it applies to you, listen to the complete message given by the angel:
“Fear Not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”
What did the shepherds do? You will find the answer in Luke 2:15: “The shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem…” They went to the place where Christ could be found and they, in turn, found satisfaction. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20).
There is satisfaction for you also, and it is to be found in the Christ. He said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!” (Matthew 11:28). Right now, you can find the real meaning of Christmas — Christ within! Then fear will be a thing of the past, and faith the guiding factor in your life.
Peter Wade’s teaching ministry is based in Australia. This article is used with his permission and is part of the online archive at www.PeterWade.com