Acts 18:9: Do Not Fear – Part VII
Sunday, New Year’s Day, January 1, 2017
We enter a new year, a time of replenishment and restoration. We look for a new message of transformed hope. A new sign of renovating freedom. We await a new pronouncement of the words we need to hear: Do not be afraid.
And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; (NASB)
Saul, the persecutor of early Christ-followers, encounters the risen Christ and learned that his fears have no meaning in this kingdom of Jesus. He now believes the words: Do not be afraid.
One night Paul had a vision in which the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, but keep on speaking and do not give up. (GNT)
Saul the persecutor, blind for a time, trusts God’s plan as he shares the Good News that Christ’s new coming brings new hope and new meaning.
One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream: “Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens, I’m with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.” That was all he needed to stick it out. He stayed another year and a half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians. (MSG)
Saul the persecutor becomes Paul the Apostle, sharing the Good News that hope is alive, rebirth and transformation are possible, and fear is only for those who refuse to believe.
Centuries after Paul shares his news with anyone who will listen, he tells each of us that there is no reason for fear or division.
Today, as we reflect on the journey the magi make to worship the new king, we might ask ourselves, “What journey we are willing to make? And what are we willing to put aside in this new year as a sign that we refuse to surrender to fear?”
Throughout Christmastide, we continue to reflect on the transformative power of God’s words to us, “Do not be afraid”.