Once is Enough

There was a story that circulated many years ago that the phrase “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible 365 times, once for each day of the year.

While this is a nice idea, it did not turn out to be true.

Many Catholic websites do however indicate that “Do not be afraid” or “Be Not Afraid” are indeed the most repeated phrases in the Bible. In fact, they appear over 100 times through the Old and New Testaments in various forms.

We human beings are worriers. We worry about money, we worry about our health, we worry about our kids, we worry about…everything.

While there may be 100+ references that we may read for comfort in the Bible, there is only one specific reference that we truly need:

From Matthew, Chapter 28: 

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it…

“…I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said…”

Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.

And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Do not be afraid because I have died for your sins and returned from the dead. Just as I promised.

The next time you feel a wave of worry or are overcome with anxiety, imagine yourself running with the two Marys away from the tomb. See Jesus in front of you, standing in the road. Picture Him smiling at you as you embrace His feet.

Imagine Him turning to you, looking directly into your eyes and saying, “Do not be afraid.”

We don’t need it 365 times. Once is enough.

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

 

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Peter

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about Peter.

Peter was not only a Disciple of Jesus, but he was Jesus’s friend. He, along with James and John, formed the “inner circle.”

They had a unique relationship with Christ on earth, and shared a variety of moments together. Two of those moments included the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden. (Talk about moments that will change you forever!)

Peter loved Jesus. And Jesus loved Peter.

Which makes the denial in Courtyard after Jesus was arrested that much more confusing and sad. Every year, when we hear the Passion of Christ, we all think the same thing: how could Peter deny him? What was he thinking?

This always makes me wonder: what would I have done if I were Peter back in the Courtyard? Would I have had the courage to say, “Yes, I know this man. I was with Him. I believe in him. He is my friend.”

Or would I do everything in my power to avoid being called out, arrested, and eventually crucified. (I’m not sure any of us can truly comprehend the pain and suffering of crucifixion.)

I’d like to think that I would defend Jesus, that my convictions would be strong. But fear is a powerful master and it has a way of controlling our thoughts and actions. After all, Peter loved Jesus, he followed Jesus, he was one of His most important disciples. And Peter still denied Jesus.

So here we are, some 2000-odd-years later, and I ask myself an important question. Am I denying Christ in some way today?

  • Am I denying Him with my words or actions?
  • Am I denying Him with my lack of words or actions?
  • Am I denying Him by putting my own personal needs above what He is calling me to be?

Or do I stand proud and say, “Yes, I know this man. I walk with him daily. I believe in Him. He is my friend?”

What do I have to be afraid of?

 

Dan Herda is an editor for theROCK.