Faith . . . or Fear?! Part I

Oi, Corona! . . . Nah!!

Rev. Sudha Mehta©

20191129_141450The town of Nazareth today looks very different than it did when Jesus walked in it.

Luke 4: 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears. 22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth: and they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?(ERV)

jesus at synagogue in nazareth photo by freebibleimagesJesus at synagogue in Nazareth photo by freebibleimage

After John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus returned to the region of Galilee to His hometown of Nazareth. Here He spoke at the local Synagogue where people knew Him. They had seen Him grow up among them. It was right that He should first declare Himself in His hometown before going anywhere else.

The Scripture Jesus read was from the Isaiah 61, and interestingly, He only read part of it. It is believed that He read the part which was fulfilled at the reading, but the remaining was yet future so Jesus chose not to read it.

We know that all Scripture being true, everything spoken about Messiah will be fulfilled. . . . So stay tuned, the rest is yet to come.

The little town of Nazareth had seen Jesus grow up in the midst of them. They knew His parents Mary and Joseph. Human nature being what it is, some perhaps always held Jesus in contempt because it was known that His mother conceived Him before she was actually married to Joseph. Rumors fly in every neighborhood! Even though Jesus never sinned, it does not mean He was always popular with everyone.

Did you know Jesus was a builder by trade? Calling Him a carpenter is actually somewhat misleading, the proper translation actually shows Him to be in the construction business . . . carpentry is part of, but not all of it. Most construction was done with stone, as seen in the archaeological digs. He apprenticed with His adoptive dad, Joseph, and continued after Joseph died. Joseph is said to have died when Jesus was a young man and his death would have left Jesus responsible for His mother and younger siblings.

At the Synagogue, when Jesus read this passage from Isaiah 61 and added that the Scripture was fulfilled this day in their presence (vs. 20), at first they wondered at His words. However, as the conversation progressed, they were not happy. Every thing Jesus said only made it worse. You see, the Jews believed this Scripture to be prophecy that would be fulfilled by Messiah, yet here was this “man” whose legitimacy from birth was questionable, who grew up in the midst of them, apprenticed with His builder dad Joseph, and worked as a builder, claiming He was Messiah! That would have sounded incredulous to them, it would have been blasphemous, for this young Man was in effect equating Himself with God. It is no wonder that they were offended enough to try and kill him.

Luke 4: 28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, He went His way.(NASB)

This hill they chased Him up is today called the Mount of Precipice. The location is stunning as it overlooks the valley of Jezreel which has been the location in history of many important events in the Bible.20191129_141723

This is also the valley where the most important event will take place in the near future, the Battle of Armageddon.

20191129_142924

I was there on this Mount. Walking in Jesus steps I took in the breathtaking views at all 360º. Our guide Elan gave us a good lesson of much history at this location. This is the hill where history and future prophecy intersect and knit seamlessly. A push off the rocks here would have resulted in sure death for Jesus. Yet, He passed right through their midst and walked away.

How?!

His time to die was not yet!

Anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus had a mission to complete!

Luke 4: 18b He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.(NASB)

Until all this had been done, He wasn’t going anywhere. If He had died at this point, He could not have said “It is finished” (John 19: 30) on the Cross:

This brings me to the point I want to illustrate today:

Jesus came to bring hope to the World. He came bringing Salvation, bringing hope to the weary, strength to the weak, healing to the sick and broken hearted, deliverance to the oppressed, freedom to the imprisoned and enslaved . . . did He not? If He is our Savior, then do we not have a hope and a promise in Him?

Is there any sickness, any problem, any enemy too big for Him? Is there ever a time when he is befuddled or confused or powerless? We serve a God who loved us so much He literally died for us. We serve a God for whom a sinless life leading to a gruesome death on the Cross was an achievement!

The Cross was not a failure, but a triumph ending in the resurrection . . . not the grave!

Now He brings me hope!

Jesus also gave the Great Commission to each of us. If you are a child of God by faith in Jesus, if you have received Him as your personal Savior, then . . . I have news for you! When you received Him, you were commissioned with the same Great Commission that was given to the disciples when He ascended. Their obedience brought you the news of Salvation which you received, and now you must pay it forward.

I believe the Bible makes it clear that God loves us and has a plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). Sadly, we do not care to ask what assignment God has for us. We choose to walk in our own selfish ways and work to fulfill our own desires and that gets us into trouble.

His plan is to grant us success. His plan for us brings not just success but fulfillment, for by working out our destiny we also bring Him glory. His way is always the right way.

Now, even Death could not defeat our Master! Remember, He gave His life for you, so that you may live your life for Him! The Bible tells us that we have the victory in Him and through Him. So, I believe that this same Death cannot take us prematurely if we walk with Him in obedience.

I have no fear at all for myself or my family. I am protected by faith in Jesus, and His finished work on the Cross assures me of His watch-care over me. Even if I do die, I die knowing my work on earth is finished, and that I go to Him in Heaven. What is there to fear? I win either way!

There is no enemy, no virus or plague, not even Coronavirus, no sickness, no disease that Jesus cannot defeat. There is no mountain He cannot conquer, no problem He cannot overcome.

Psalm 91: 1 The one who lives in the shelter of the Most High,

who rests in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD,

2 “You are my refuge, my fortress,

and my God in whom I trust!”

3 He will surely deliver you from the hunter’s snare

and from the destructive plague.

4 With his feathers he will cover you,

under his wings you will find safety.

His truth is your shield and armor.

5 You need not fear terror that stalks in the night,

the arrow that flies in the day,

6 plague that strikes in the darkness,

or calamity that destroys at noon.

7 If a thousand fall at your side

or ten thousand at your right hand,

it will not overcome you.(ISV)

I am given a choice: Faith or Fear. Fear allows the enemy to hold me hostage, to torment, torture, enslave, and destroy me! Faith on the other hand is the victory over all of life’s problems, over temptations, trials, battles, sickness and even death.

Philippians 4: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.(NASB)

He also says:

Hebrews 10: 38 But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he might shrink back, My soul does not take pleasure in him.”(BLB)

I have no desire to displease the Almighty God, so I choose to live by faith. By doing this I find His peace (Shalom) that surpasses all human understanding. This Shalom encompasses and guards my heart so that I literally cannot shake it. Because this peace (Shalom) surrounds me like a fortress I know I am safe in Him, and so is my family. Think of this for a bit. This is supernatural peace that is beyond human understanding! If you understand it, then it is not His peace. Strange . . . isn’t it?! It comes when your faith is so completely resting in Him that even if you yourself try to shake it loose, you cannot! The only way to shake this peace is to be disobedient! That’s it!!

With this faith, I do not ride the roller coaster of circumstance, or roll with the ruckus  of the mob. I am not swayed by the noise of nay-sayers and fearmongers, and I do not get paralyzed by dread in the midst of a personal storm. This faith brings me peace when the waves surge high, and stormy gale swells. This peace keeps me safe in His Fortress around me, untouched by the panic and the plague without. This peace assures me that no matter the storm, no matter the threat, no matter the hordes or the plagues that wreak havoc with humans and beasts alike . . . He still is king, He still rules.

This faith, this peace is built on the solid foundation of my relationship with Him. This peace doesn’t come with ritual or with religion, it comes only with a deep faith and rest in His person, in all that He is!

I have chosen my track . . . Faith!

Now I ask: What will you choose? Faith in all that He is . . . or Fear?! You decide . . .

man praying unsplash photo from Crosswalk.com

Remember, He loves you and waits . . . 

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