May 01, 2022
Pathway to Peace
a. The foundation of the Christian faith is a person and an event. The Jesus and the Resurrection!
b. Acts 15: The first “Church Council” meeting concluded that the old covenant (Jews) had been replaced with a new covenant (Jews and Gentiles).
c. Jesus gives us two specific commands.
“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
d. Jesus also shared a number of other commands, which were more like attitudes, approaches, and perspectives, that when embraced provided a pathway to peace in the midst of extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
2. Do Not Fear/Do Not Be Afraid:
a. This was Jesus’ favorite command.
i. Imagine living with no fear.
ii. This is included in Jesus’ invitation to follow him.
iii. The pre-resurrection followers thought this was as impossible as we do.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:28–31)
b. The disciples likely thought, “Well, then bad things won’t happen to us because we have some kind of divine protection.”
c. However, Jesus teaches them something far better than divine protection. He teaches them how not to be afraid when bad things happen.
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23–27)
“…and they feared a great fear, and said one to another, ‘Who, then, is this, that even the wind and the sea do obey him?’” (Mark 4:41)
d. Their latter fear was greater than their former fear—which was the point Jesus was trying to make.
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:22–27)
e. Jesus’ Point: We don’t have to be afraid, even when there’s something to be afraid of.”
a. Jesus’ command, “Do not…fear” didn’t stick until after the resurrection.
i. The disciples scattered from Jesus in Gethsemane once He was arrested.
ii. The disciples ran, they hid, they lied, and they denied.
“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is… whether or not he rose from the dead.” (Timothy Keller)
b. When death is defeated, there’s nothing to fear.
c. When the disciples lost their fear of death, they were no longer afraid and this coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit enabled them to change the world!
“…for fearlessness of death and the hereafter is something we witness in them (Christians) every day…” Claudius Galenus (2nd century Roman medical examiner)
d. What do you fear the most? ________________________________________
e. “Do not fear”…not because there’s nothing to fear…but because Jesus is with us!
“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God…” (Isaiah 41:10)
f. Pathway to Peace: Do Not Fear!
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)