Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fear Not

Luke 1:30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God." (NASB)

"Wait a minute!" you say, "It's January already! Christmas is over!"

Bear with me, I've got something exciting to share!

I recently did a word study on the phrase "Fear Not", and found something that greatly touched, and encouraged my heart.

"Do not be afraid", or "Fear Not" is how we often hear and read it (the Greek word is phobeo and we get from it our word phobia) but, the "tense" in which it is said carries all the meaning!

The tense (according to my Key Word Bible and "Bibleworks" software) is "present imperative", which means the phrase is really saying, "Fear not, and keep on fearing not!"

It does not mean, "Oh here, let me pat you on the head and comfort you..."

No, it is a command. It recognizes that fear has started to creep into Mary's heart, but the angel commands that the fear stop... and not start back up again!

It is the same with Zechariah (Luke 1:13) and with the angels (Luke 2:10).

With Joseph however, (Matthew 1:20) the word is the same, but the tense is different. In Joseph's case it is "passive subjective", which means (basically) that the fear or doubt only comes because all the facts are not known yet. Once Jesus is born, there will be no further fear or doubt about marrying Mary.

But the real "kicker" is found in Matthew 28:5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. (NASB emphasis added)

It is the very same word, and tense! Fear not, and keep on fearing not!

So yeah, another Christmas season has come and gone, but in many cases, once we come "down from the mountain" the fear "returns" as we settle back into the routines of life.

But, from a borrowed cradle to a borrowed tomb, the "bookends of Faith" say to us, no they Command us, "Fear not, and keep on fearing not!"

May God strengthen and encourage you this new year!


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