Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight … Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows … whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God … whoever blasphemies against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

Lk 12: 6,7,9,10

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“Do not be afraid …”  So says Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

We seldom focus on fear or on fear and its relationship to faith and our salvation. Yet, in the above passage fear is front and center.  What Jesus says here is quite powerful.

Think about it.  If sparrows are not forgotten by God there is nothing that we might fear because God finds us more valuable than many sparrows.

Think again about what Jesus says: “whoever blasphemies against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

We often think of blaspheme as something said of God in an irreverent or impious way.  But consider this: blasphemy the noun, not the verb, identifies it as “any contemptuous or profane act, utterance or writing concerning God.”  In Judaism it is understood to mean “any word or deed meant to dishonor or revile the being or work of God.”

Act or deed.

In the above passage, Jesus is talking about fear.  A state of being that affects our actions and our thinking.  One can reasonably conclude that Jesus focus on fear includes, and is intended to include, as an instruction – acts and deeds done or not done because of fear; that, indeed, one blasphemies God and the Holy Spirit by being governed by fear – when we know that even sparrows are protected and revered by God and no less is accorded the human being by God.

There are few things as unattractive as a man full of fear.

Fear reduces man immeasurably.  Seeing fear among those who appear as faithful is a particularly sad and destructive image.  It is an image that says unwittingly: forget what I say, forget what I profess – I am governed by fear.

Such people conjure up contempt in those who believe, and rightly so.  Such is the nature of the contrast between belief and unbelief, truth and untruth.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light.

Plato

Fear not lest you deny God and the Spirit.  There is no greater harm you can do than spread fear for it denies God and distances others from salvation, full and eternal life.

Shalom.

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