August 25, 2016

Your Greatest Fear

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 (NIV)

Last year, the Charlie Brown special A Charlie Brown Christmas aired for the fiftieth time.  It’s a familiar story:  Charlie Brown is so frustrated by the commercialization of the holiday that he finally shouts, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”  Linus, hearing his friend’s question, carries his blanket onstage and, under a spotlight, recites part of the Christmas story from the Bible, including these words:

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)

After Linus finishes, he walks back to his friends and says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Jason Soroski in an online article, told how this Charlie Brown special had been a standard part of his life growing up, but it was only as an adult that he noticed something in it for the first time.  Linus’ blanket was, of course, a security blanket, his ever-present cloth companion.  In all the Charlie Brown cartoons, Linus was never without it.  But, at the moment Linus recites the Bible verse, “Fear not … a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” he drops his precious blanket.

Soroski doesn’t believe that was an accident.  Cartoonist Charles Schultz and the animators had to be intentional about Linus dropping his blanket at the particular moment Soroski wrote, “The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears.”  And, so it was when a woman reached out and touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak one day.  It must have been frightening for her.  She was in a desperate condition.  Luke’s Gospel tells us that, for twelve long years, she had been subject to bleeding.  According to the Law in her day, she was considered ceremonially unclean. Everyone and everything she touched became ceremonially unclean, so this woman would have been ostracized by the entire community, including her family.   She was even prohibited from going to the Synagogue to worship; she had spent all her money going from doctor to doctor, hoping for a cure, but only got worse!  It must have taken courage for her to push through the crowd and touch the only one she believed could heal her.  But, what would happen?  What would Jesus do?  She must have wanted to get in and out without being noticed.  Despite the crowds pressing in on Jesus, He knew someone had touched Him and He felt a release of healing power.  Can you imagine her fear when Jesus asked, “Who touched me?”  Only Jesus and the woman knew.  The crowd and, even, the disciples didn’t realize that a miracle had taken place in their midst.  What a Mighty God!  Without any fanfare or even a word being spoken, Jesus knows and responds when one of His children reaches out to Him in faith.  Luke tells us what happened next:

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace.’”  Luke 8:47-48 (NIV) 

This woman experienced the perfect love of Jesus.  It would drive out all her fears and replace them with peace.  What about you?  What is your greatest fear?  Isn’t it time to drop it at the feet of Jesus?