Inside Out Part 5: Fear
On Sunday 31st January at our morning service, we continued our series Inside Out with the topic 'Fear'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
If you would like to listen to the talk, please click here.
Talk Notes and Summary
What are you afraid of? Sometimes fear can be a good thing, I’m afraid of poisonous snakes which can kill me, that’s not a bad fear. But sometimes we can be afraid of things and that fear cripples us: fear of what others think of us, fear of looking stupid, fear of change, fear of exams, fear of outcomes, fear of being bullied at school.
How do we deal with our fears? What is the secret to finding the courage to move through our fears, even when there is something to be afraid of?
Use a story from the life of Jesus to help us here. It comes in Matthew’s eye witness account of Jesus’ life chapter 14 verses 22 to 27. To read this, please click here.
Jesus made his disciples get into a boat (verse 22), why do you think he made them?
Well they are still remembering the last time they were in the boat with Jesus when there was a furious storm and they were terrified. They cried out to Jesus and he calmed the storm.
So the disciples are reluctant to get in – understandably. But this time Jesus doesn’t get in with them, he stayed (verses 23 to 27). Then he walks across the lake towards them. Jesus tells them to take courage, he is there, don’t be afraid. There is a progression here. The first time in the boat when there was a furious storm, Jesus was physically with them in the boat. This second time, Jesus isn’t with them, but they can see him, don’t be afraid. Jesus is teaching them that one day he won’t be with you anymore, but don’t be afraid even though there might be something to be afraid of.
But we should take encouragement here…the disciples didn’t do this straight away. Later when Jesus was arrested, they ran away, when Jesus was being put on trial, they denied knowing him because they were afraid for their lives. When Jesus was killed most of them didn’t show up, because they were afraid they would be next.
They didn’t do this fear not thing, but something changed, because a short while after Jesus was killed, they re-emerge fearless. Somehow they got it, they lost their fear of death and did incredible things and we are here today because of them, and many of them were killed in horrible ways, but they feared not. What changed?
What changed was that they encountered a risen saviour. They met Jesus again after he was killed and after he had risen from the dead. It’s the only explanation for their change to people who did not fear death. They had met the risen Jesus…the one who has conquered death and they didn’t fear it anymore.
You might not be a Christian, you might think this stuff is all just myth and legend, but you can’t get away from this change in the attitude of these disciples and this is historical fact.
Do you know why Jesus could say to his followers 2,000 years ago “fear not”? Do you know why Jesus can whisper to you through the centuries “fear not”? It is because he can say to you “you do not have to be afraid even though there is something to be afraid of, because I am with you, and you need not fear anything or anyone that can harm you because I have conquered death”.
Do you want to have courage even when there is something to be afraid of? Look to the resurrected Jesus and remember he has conquered death and fear not.
Questions and Reflections (to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)
1. What are you afraid of?
2. How do you deal with your fears? Does being afraid ever stop you from doing something you real ought to do?
3. Was the disciples fears in the story in Matthew chapter 14 rational? Would you have been afraid if you had been in their shoes?
4. Why do you think the disciples weren’t able to conquer their fears when Jesus was arrested and killed?
5. Do you agree that encountering the resurrected Jesus is the only thing that could have changed them? How?
6. Do you agree that Jesus has conquered death? What does that mean for your fears?
7. How is this message going to change you?