Fear Not – Matthew 28:1-10 – Pastor Eric
What do you fear? What are you so afraid of? What causes you fear today? Many people fear failure. Failure is never an option, because we want control over our lives, our bank accounts, and our futures. Yet, these days with COVID-19 feel like things are out of our control. Others fear death itself, and it scares us to hear the growing death toll in our country. We wonder when will it all end, and it only brings us more and more anxiety.
Scripture is not empty of fear, for Jesus’ closest followers were afraid. The two women at the tomb were unsure and uncertain about their future. They too were gripped by fear and afraid of what will happen to them. They are deeply broken that their loved one, Jesus, is gone.
But praises be to God that He has an answer to their fears and our fears. God met these women to bring them out of their fear and to bring them an eternal hope. Fear was no longer a factor for them for Christ was alive. He was risen!
The resurrection story leads us to know that fear is never a factor with faith in the Risen Christ. Fear in life and in death are not a factor for those who believe in Christ. We can have a deep confidence for God has conquered sin and death on our behalf to give us new life.
(1) Fear Not - God is in control. There is no need to fear, for God remains firmly in control. God was, is, and will always be in control. Everything in this world even with COVID-19 passes through the Sovereign Hands of God. God is in command of this world. (Matthew 28:1-4)
The resurrection is filled with God’s sovereignty and control. God commanded the timing of the resurrection. Jesus prophesied and promised that He would rise on the third day, and He did. The resurrection proves God is supremely in control of history and every event of life.
The earthquake at the tomb accompanies the greatest supernatural event in history. This proves God was and is in control of both the physical world and the spiritual world. God firmly commands both creation and the heavens.
There is more as the angel of the Lord rolls back the stone from the tomb. We understand that the angel did not roll away the stone for Christ to come out, but the stone was rolled away so the women could come in. The women could see that Christ was risen and see that God had done the miraculous. God shows off that He commands the miraculous.
Finally, God commands the Romans soldiers. These are battled tested guards who are turned them into little scaredy cats. Who looks dead now? Man, not God. God shows Himself to be in complete control of the strongest men on earth.
The resurrection is the climax of the gospel storyline showing us that God has always been in complete control.
This is good news for these weary and fearful days of shelter in place living. We need the sovereignty of God. We need to know that God has a firm grasp of history and this world. He has command over our finances, our future, and our families. Thus, fear doesn’t have to be a factor for us.
(2) Fear Not - God is alive. There is no need to fear death for our God is alive. He is not dead. Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross to free us from our sin, and He arose from the grave to free us from death. Christ is the resurrected God, and He did what nobody could ever do. Don’t be afraid for God rules and reigns over life and death. (Matthew 28:5-7)
The angel validates that Jesus died upon the cross as He experienced the crushing wrath of God and took upon the sins of the world. He died a physical and spiritual death. But now Christ has risen from the dead. Christ stands victorious over every fear for He has overcome and conquered the greatest tragedy, death itself. Jesus Christ is both the Crucified God and the Resurrected God.
There is no longer any need to fear death, because the grave has been overwhelmed with victory in Christ Jesus. God offers us eternal life both now and forevermore. The fear of death does not have to be a factor for us.
(3) Fear Not - God is always with us. God is there in our fear. God is with us in our suffering, and He is there in our sorrow. Jesus has never left us nor will He forsake us. His presence carries us through and through no matter the loss or circumstance. He is Immanuel, God with us, for He came down from Heaven in human flesh to meet us. (Matthew 28:8-10)
Fear is replaced with a new fear, a holy fear, and an amazement with great joy. The women make a mad dash to share the good news, but before they can meet the disciples, Christ greets them. They behold and hold Jesus like never before.
The importance of the resurrected Savior can’t be lost. For Christ is a living person with a real glorified body, and He was not a mere spiritual vision or some supernatural dream. For the women took hold of Him physically, and this assures us that He was truly resurrected in bodily form and one day we will too.
One day we will be in awe and wonder of Christ like the women. What a glorious day that will be when we enter Heavens’ gates to meet Him face to face, and God greets us at Heaven’s gate to say “Greetings!!! Welcome home, my son and my daughter!”
Speaking of going home, Pastor Rod went home to be with the Lord this past Friday. We will miss his presence, compassionate care, and strong leadership, but we can know that Rod was greeted in Heaven by the Lord with “Greetings Rod! Welcome home my son. Well done, good and faithful servant!”
We can know this for sure because Rod entrusted Himself into God’s Hands, and he turned from his sin toward God in faith. Rod deeply knew Christ commanded his destiny, and he is now home with the Lord.
So, would you be able to say the same thing as our brother Rod? No guilt in life, no fear in death? Do you have assurance of your eternity like he did? Or is fear still a factor for you? Would you know for sure where your destiny lies in your hands or in the Hands of God? Would you entrust yourself into God’s care for you, both now and forevermore?
If you put your faith in Christ, then you can be assured that when your time is up, you’ll be in Heaven with the Lord. If you put your faith in Christ, then you can have hope beyond the ugliness of this world. You don’t have to be afraid of any virus, any suffering, or death.
You can know for sure Christ is right there to comfort you in your loneliness. You can know for sure Christ is right there to give you hope and a glorious future. You can know for sure Christ is in complete control of your life to ease your greatest fears. You and I can say together, “Fear is not a factor for Christ is alive and well. He is risen! He is risen indeed.”
Songs of Paise: Forever, The Wonderful Cross, In Christ Alone, Cornerstone