What are you afraid of? Fear can be one of the most debilitating forces in our lives. Fear can cause a person to never venture out into the world, to stay at home, to avoid others, and to miss many great and wonderful opportunities. Fear can also cause us to miss many blessings from God, including salvation if we are too afraid of God to come to Him.
So in this study today, we are going to take a look at how Jesus frees us from fear, and how as we truly listen to His Words, the bondage of fear is broken in our lives.
The first scripture that we are going to look at today is going to be Hebrews 2:14-15:
“For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
We see a comfort here, in that Jesus took on Himself flesh and blood just as we have; and He did it for a specific purpose, that through His death, He would destroy the devil who had the power of death.
Notice that the devil does not have the power of death anymore. Jesus removed that weapon from Him. Then in verse 15, the scriptures go on to tell us that we are delivered from the fear of death which subjected us to bondage. And we were not subjected to this fear only for a short time, but for our entire life as we read in the verse.
That is really a horrible life, and there are still many people who are in bondage to this fear, because they have not allowed Jesus Christ to free them yet. There are many people who still fear death, and as a result they are in bondage. I’ll give you just a few examples: Some people are afraid of flying, but it’s not really that they are afraid of flying, it’s that they are afraid of the plane crashing and them dying.
Some people are afraid of swimming or water, but they aren’t afraid of water, they are afraid of drowning.
Some people stay in their homes and never leave at all, all because of fear. But Jesus came to deliver.
Now how exactly does Jesus deliver? To understand this, we must understand the person and the high status of Jesus. Turn to Matthew 17:1-9:
“And after six days Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, and brings them up into an high mountain apart,
And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Then answered Peter, and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear you him.
And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.”
Notice here right in verse 1 that the span of time is mentioned… after six days. This is why its so very important to remind ourselves of the truth of Jesus every single day, because it doesn’t take long to totally forget the wonderful truths of Jesus. Peter had just declared Jesus to be the Christ in Matthew 16:18, and as we are about to see here, has already totally forgotten this truth (for the second time already)! And today we have many believers who are only feeding on scripture once a week as they attend church, and starving the rest of the week.
We see in verse 2, that Jesus is transfigured right in front of them, and His face shines like the sun and His clothes become as white as the light. This is the pure divine glory of God, no question. And unlike the glory of Moses which people were afraid of, this is a better glory because nowhere does the Bible say that anyone was afraid of Jesus’ glory here.
Next in verse 3, Moses and Elijah appear next to Jesus. Now these are the two most respected figures to the Jewish people. Moses representing the Law, and Elijah representing the Prophets. And Peter who has now forgotten who Jesus is, speaks from his flesh and says that he wants to build three temples. One for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah. Not only is he speaking non-sense – not being able to build three temples right there, but Peter’s real offense here is placing Jesus on the same level as the Law and the Old Testament prophets… Jesus is far greater than the Law and the Prophets. This is the reason for verse 5, and today we still have people who try to place Jesus on the same level as the law and the prophets, saying that “yes Jesus is good, but we must also have the law too, because we need a balance.”
There is something about our human nature, where we still have this prideful need to perform. We really believe that the more we perform the more that God is pleased with us. But the truth is that the more we rest in what Jesus Christ has done for us, the more God is pleased with us. So in verse 5, while Peter is still speaking, a bright cloud from Heaven appears and the voice of God the Father booms out like thunder and says: This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; Hear Him.
My friends, it is Jesus that we should be focusing on. It is Jesus we should be hearing. It is Jesus that pleases the Father, and in Him alone are we justified, sanctified and made righteous.
Now the Father has just made it quite clear that we should be listening to Jesus; so then, what are the very next words to proceed from the blessed lips of Jesus? Verse 7 tells us that Jesus came and touched them – do you see the divine love and compassion here? He sees them in their fear, and tells them Arise, do not be afraid. This is what he wants from each of us, to arise and not be afraid, and it can only come after we focus on Him and allow Him to touch us.
Verse 8 says that when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, but Jesus Christ only. And in verse 9, as they came down from the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell this vision of what they saw to anyone until Jesus was raised from the dead. The fact that you and I are reading this today is a testimony that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead.
Why does this truth today free us from fear? It is vital to understand that all of our curse has been laid upon Jesus and that today we are spared from the wrath of God because of Jesus. Sometimes we very frivolously say that we are freed from the curse of sin, but we don’t really truly acknowledge it in our day to day lives. When people or circumstances or things come against us today, we usually do not stand against them using the truth of Christ, instead we either try to resist them ourselves and fail (and wallow in defeat), or we erroneously believe that our tribulation is God’s will, and never seek freedom from it in Christ.
Take a look at 1st John 4:16-19:
“And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
We love him, because he first loved us.”
This perfect love does not originate with us. We can not try really hard and eventually love the way that God does or on the same level as Him. No, we receive His love for us and then we manifest that love outwardly as it overflows through us.
This perfect love is God’s love for us. Notice in verse 16 it says that we have known and believed the love that God has to us. It is possible to know that God loves you in your head, as a mental assent, but not believe it in your day to day living. The temptation to start to weigh your current circumstances or life situation as some kind of barometer of God’s love. For example, yes things are going great so God loves me, or things just aren’t working so God doesn’t love me, or He is angry with me, or displeased.
My friend, never be deceived by this kind of thinking. Go a few verses up in your Bible to 1st John 4:9:
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
The love of God is demonstrated towards us in that He sent His Son as a substitute in our place to bear our judgment and curse in Himself so that we would be spared.
This means that right now, as you are today as we read, we are as He is. We are accepted in Him, not in ourselves, but in the absolute perfection of Jesus Christ, with His perfect love washing over us and this is why we can be totally free today, including free from fear and the fear of death. And this has nothing to do with how you feel, this has nothing to do with your current circumstances, or what anyone else says or does. This has nothing to do with your performance or how many times you have sinned today, but it has everything to do with whether you have accepted Jesus Christ as your substitute.. and if you have, praise God you’re accepted completely in Him!
So please don’t allow anyone or anything talk you out of what God says that you are. That prideful arrogant attitude of doubting and questioning yourself right out of the truth of God. Be very careful with that attitude. God never intended you to talk yourself out of what He has made you to be.
Everything that Jesus Christ went through during His Passion was for us. Isaiah 52:14 says that He was marred more than any of the sons of men. When they were done with Him, He was so disfigured that He was unrecognizable.
You and I were marred by sin, and when it was finished with us, we looked nothing like what we were created to be. But Jesus was marred to such a degree, so that we could again be restored to the image and likeness of God as was intended.
One of the first areas that He redeemed us from was stress. In the Garden of Gethsemane, it is recorded in the Bible that during His time in the garden He sweats blood… the blood vessels around the sweat glands constrict due to extreme stress and then dilate to the point of rupture. The blood is released from the body through the sweat glands. The medical term for this is “hematohidrosis”.
We know that there is redeeming power in the Blood of Jesus. We know that there is great salvation, healing and peace found in His blood. And it is interesting to note as mentioned above that during His suffering, the scriptures make a point to mention in Luke 22:44 that His blood touches sweat.
Sweat in the Bible typically represents human effort, anxiety and stress. These are the very first things that Jesus redeemed us from.
Whenever you are feeling overworked, stressed, or pressured, remember that Jesus has already taken those burdens, and that you are not required to carry them yourself any longer. This doesn’t mean you’ll never feel that way, but don’t camp there. Stand on the redeeming truth of Jesus for you, and simply let the feeling go, because it is not true for you any longer — Jesus took it in your place.
God loves you so much that He endured unimaginable sufferings so that you would never have to suffer. The curses have been taken by Him and His blessings are freely yours by His sacrifice.
Turn to Matthew 27:26-31:
“Then released he Barabbas to them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered to him the whole band of soldiers.
And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they spit on him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.”
In verse 26, we see that they released Barabbas, choosing to scourge and crucify Jesus. Jesus was despised and rejected by men; they set the murderer free and condemned Jesus, so that today you will be set free and by God and the true murderer Satan will be forever condemned. And don’t downplay or fail to recognize that scourging either, because your healing is in those lashes. Those stripes on the back of our LORD, He took those for you to be healed. Please don’t fail to take that provision.
Verse 27, they took Him to the common hall, a large area where they gathered together how many? The whole band of soldiers. Verse 28, then they stripped Him naked. Television and artists never really show this, but He was naked. This is where your shame ended. When He was mocked and shamed and naked. He redeemed for you honor, and glory.
They put a scarlet robe on Him, and in verse 29 they put a crown of thorns on His head, which symbolizes sin and curse, and a reed in His right hand and mocked Him as a king, which is where your royal status in God’s Kingdom was regained.
Then in verse 30, they spit on Him. Unlike the movies and television portrayals, it was not just one person that spat on Jesus, but the entire garrison of soldiers spat on Him, more than once. And they took the reed and bashed Jesus on the head, shoving the crown of thorns deeper into His skull.
Then in verse 31, with His face covered in blood and spit, and the blood on His back from His scourging has now dried up and stuck together with the scarlet robe they had put on Him, they then stripped it off of Him again, tearing His flesh even more. Then they led Him away to be crucified.
My dear friends, don’t ever make light of what Jesus endured for you to be free. Do not be deceived, He was an overpayment for your sins. In Christ today your sins are gone! Totally removed! This is why as we read in 1st John 4:9 that the love of God is manifested towards us that He sent Jesus. Jesus suffered all of these things to set you free! So that you would not live in fear, but have boldness in the day of judgment, knowing that you are absolutely justified in what Christ has done.
This is the love of God toward you that makes you free. You can not add anything to it, your performance is not what justifies you, and you are not the Messiah. He has said it is finished, and indeed it is finished. Stop trying to add onto what He has done, and stop living in defeat. You are free in Christ.