I have to confess, sometimes I really wrestle with fear. I have seasons where I wake up around 4am obsessing over some business problem or financial challenge, my mind unable to fully distinguish between what is real and what I’m only dreaming. Have you ever noticed how irrational your thoughts can be in the middle of the night?

Everyone seems to be slow-cooking in an ever-warming pot of fear nowadays, don’t they? Fear is nothing new, and some level of healthy fear is good for us (hint: don’t play with rattle snakes). There are some legitimately disturbing things out there. But we also live in a hyper-connected world that has learned stoking fear and anger can pay huge dividends, with real business models built on making people afraid to keep our attention and drive profits.

How did Jesus teach his disciples to handle fear? There are countless stories in the gospels alone, but one really stood out to me this week. It’s found in John 20:

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews…” (v. 19)

The evening after Jesus’ resurrection, his disciples were still hiding behind lock and key. Only a few disciples had seen him alive, and in the aftermath of the political and cultural chaos created by Jesus’ crucifixion, they feared for their lives. They were protecting themselves from a very real and present danger. Then look what happened:

“Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” (v. 20)

In the midst of their fear, Jesus showed up. And his presence changed everything. But notice, Jesus did not say “peace be to the political chaos in the city,” or “peace be to the cultural upheaval of the day.” He said peace be with you. His peace was directed to his followers themselves, not to the circumstances surrounding them.

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” (v. 21-22)

And then what did Jesus do? He didn’t say, “let me hide you here,” or “let me shelter you from all those scary things.” He sent them out into the chaos! Jesus gave his followers his peace and commissioned them to take that peace into a fear-filled world.

The antidote to fear is not doubling down on self-protection, it’s refocusing on the global mission of Christ.

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Accelerating the Great Commission through the Marketplace,

Erik Cooper | The Stone Table

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