By Rev. Russel Troester

Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church

What are you afraid of? Spiders? That’s called arachnophobia — which is not to be confused with acrophobia, the fear of heights.

Don’t like small, confined spaces? That’s claustrophobia. Afraid of making decisions? You might suffer from decidophobia. And if, like many people, you think clowns are pure evil, you’re not alone in your coulrophobia.

Fears like those can certainly be real. They can even limit how you live your life. But what about some more serious fears? Do you ever wrestle with the fear that you might fail at something? Do you ever look ahead to the end of your life and fear what death might be like? Do you fear an illness that you might be battling? Do you fear that you aren’t good enough for God and fear His wrath?

Fear is powerful. It can cripple you. It can lead you into irrational behaviors. It can cause you to curl up and hide from the world. Fear is a part of our human existence in this beautiful but broken world. Especially when you face your own mortality or the death of a loved one, fear of the unknown can creep up.

Fear was throughout the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion – his passion. Peter was afraid of what would happen when Jesus was on trial, so he denied his Lord three times. Jesus’ disciples, family, and friends were afraid when he was taken down from the cross and his lifeless body was laid in the tomb. They were afraid because they thought it was all over. They were afraid of what was going to happen next.

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

That’s the heart of the Christian message, and it’s not just about a warm, cozy feeling. God’s perfect love is shown in Christ’s death on the cross and fulfilled in the resurrection.

The miracle of Easter is that the resurrection of Jesus means that you don’t need to fear. It’s the undoing of death. It’s the Gospel message, the Good News. It proves that Jesus really is God and it shows that He has power even over death. It means his death was sufficient to pay the price for your sins and satisfy the wrath of God. Because Jesus died for your sins, through faith – belief, trust – in Him you too have died to sin. And since He has been raised from the dead, through faith in Him you will be raised from the dead!

I can’t argue you into believing if you don’t already. I also can’t tell you about all the details of eternal life. What I can tell you, though — what I can assure you of — is what God’s Word tells you: that Christ lived, died, and rose again for you.

God’s perfect love for you gives you strength, hope, and peace — even in the midst of the fears you face in life. So, don’t be afraid. Rejoice! Christ is risen!