Fear Not. Believe Only.
Luke 8:41-56 - 24th Sunday after Trinity - November 10, 2013

Why should we be afraid? What is the point of having fear, when Christ has all power in heaven and on earth? He has complete authority over all things. So why should we be afraid, since He promises to always be with us, to never leave us, never forsake us, to never let us down, and to always make all things work together for our good? He promises to always give us a way to escape our temptations, and to never give us more than we can handle. Why should we ever be afraid or doubt? He says, “Fear not. Believe only.”

Christ overcame everything that stood in between us and God, (sin, death, the devil) and freely gives to us eternal life. Our times are in His hand. He is faithful. He won’t let us down. All our fears are baseless, and pointless. So He says, “Fear not. Believe only.” He invites us to receive rest for our soul, in His words of comfort, His words of eternal life.

There are many things that can cause us to doubt. But His words are powerful to set aside all our doubts, and all our fears. It’s really all very pointless since Christ vacated His tomb. He didn’t stay there for a reason. He overcame everything. “Fear not. Believe only.”

But we must admit that believing in Christ doesn’t mean we get to live on easy street. Faith in Christ doesn’t erase life’s problems. Because He Himself says, we must carry our cross. What cross? “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Our comfort though is that He says His yoke is easy, and His burden is light, because He already took the heavier burden of our sins upon Himself. We must carry our cross, but He took the much heavier one already, by taking our sins away on the cross of His crucifixion.

And then the critics say, “Well, if Jesus did everthing needful to save us, suffering for us, then why do we have to suffer?”

There’s that one question that always seems to linger, and seems so hard to really answer fully and completely….why? Why do we have to suffer? We learn of this woman who had some sort of disease that caused her to bleed, not for a little while, but for 12 years!?!? Why? We remember the man at the pool of Bethesda. He suffered from paralysis for how long? 38 years. Why? We learn of the man named Jairus, whose daughter was breathing her last breath, not at a ripe old age, but before even becoming a teenager. Before she really got to live life, before getting married, before having children, before having a family of her own, her life must be ripped away? Why?

What kind of life is that? What kind of life do we have, where at any given time, we could experience these same things, maybe even worse things? We have no guarantee that we won’t.

But before we continue, by God’s grace, we confess that having a perfect understanding of “why”, is not what’s essential. Everything we need, we already have in Jesus Christ. He promises that He will be with us, He will strengthen us, He will keep us in the one true and saving faith. No matter how hard the storms of life blow, He is the rock that doesn’t move. And “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever.” We are safe and secure in His arms. He says, no man shall pluck you out of His hand. “Fear not. Believe only.” Christ is all that we need. Knowing this, and beliving in Him, now let us continue with the “why”.

The world attempts to explain the “why?” It tries desperately, and fails miserably. It says, “Well, death is just part of the circle of life.” Really? Could we look Jairus and his wife, in the eye, and honestly tell them: “It’s just part of the process.” Where is the comfort in that? How empty and cold.

The Word of God disagrees, specifically Genesis. Suffering and death were never part of God’s original plan. Eternal life, eternal happiness, and eternal communion with God, now that was the original plan. But then we sinned. And “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

And this Jesus, He speaks with authority, the kind of authority that we need. His words are powerful to create life and faith in our soul. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”

By speaking His Word only, “Maid, arise”, He raised Jairus’ daughter back to life. The woman who touched the hem of His garment, she too got her life back. For twelve years she was alive, but one might ask, was she really living, with that never-ending burden? Jesus gave her her life back.

But does that mean that these people of faith never experienced any kind of suffering again? Of course not. We must through much tribulation enter into God’s kingdom.

What kind of life is that, where at any given time, I could lose everything? It is exactly what we need, as Christ teaches us, not to rely on the dying things of this dying world, but in His words of eternal life. Earthly troubles come because He wants us to find rest and peace, not in this dying world, but in His Word, in His Sacraments, in His empty tomb, which means we will also rise from our graves. Jesus says, “Fear not. Believe only.”

No matter what situations we face, we can be confident they were designed specifically for us, by our loving Heavenly Father, who spared not His only-begotten Son, but delivered Him up for us all. “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”