Think back to yesterday, when we were talking about hypocrisy, and how the Righteous Judge will reveal all of the wicked deeds that were done in secret. Jesus tells us to fear Him because He has the authority to cast us into hell, but in contrast, everyone else who might want to cause us harm can only kill us physically. Compared to eternity, this life with all of its joys and sorrows is but a blip. I’m reminded of a video I’ve seen that shows a side-by-side comparison of planets, moons, and stars. It just keeps zooming out and it’s not very long before the Earth wouldn’t even fill a pixel on the screen by the time you have the other objects in the frame. Eternity is bigger than that.
Right after telling them to fear God, Jesus tells His disciples not to fear Him, because not only does He have absolute authority over us, but He knows every minute detail about us as well. He knows and cares about the little sparrows, and He values us more highly than many sparrows.
How is this tension resolved? By our response to Jesus. If we have faith in Jesus that He has saved us by paying the penalty for our sins, then He credits His rigtheousness to us before God, making us holy and acceptable to Him. But if we reject Him, saying we will deal with our sin problem on our own, or even denying that we are wicked to begin with, then He will deny us before God and the angels, and our fate is to get what we wanted: an eternity without God.
Therefore, knowing all these things, we can be bold, confident, and unafraid to speak about Jesus and how He has changed our lives with other people. What are they going to do? Laugh at you? So what? God thinks you were worth dying for. Will they ostracize you? Besmirch your reputation? Imprison you? God still loves you despite knowing the worst things about you and He will take care of you. Will they kill you? Wonderful! Then you will be home with the Lord all the sooner! Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will give you words to say when you need to defend your faith.
Help us remember Your promises and to rely on them when we face trials for Your sake.