Wednesday, April 04, 2007

following with fear

32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise."

Mark 10

Fear and faith seem incompatible. In a sense they are, but in another true sense in life they are not. Following Christ includes following through thick and thin, when I think I have plenty of faith and when I know I'm struggling to have faith at all. Still we must follow.

Sometimes "I lose it". With alot of pressure I can simply lose perspective it seems, completely. What then? Do I cease following? No. I must "lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees and make straight paths for my feet". I must plod on and seek to follow. Getting into Scripture, though it may seem far removed from my vision. God will bring it home as I seek to get into and ultimately dwell in his Word/Scripture.

Another passage says the disciples at this time simply didn't get it. And we won't always either. That must not be a block to us following. If anything we need all the more to seek to follow Christ during such times. And we need to seek to do this together with other fellow followers who too have their own struggles and issues they're working on.

During this Holy Week, let's determine to be learning to seriously follow no matter what. When we falter and are lost, let's get right back up again and look to the Lord and his strength, seeking his face, and in so doing be witnesses of his grace and bearers of his image, together, in this world.

What thoughts would you add here?


Doug Jones said...

I really love that text - other translations seem to mix the two - not separating the disciples from the followers who are fearful - allowing one to see that possibly these are the same people with that mix of awe and fear. Faith and fear... in that liminal space where God transforms us on the threshold of a whole new day; a whole new encounter; a whole new understanding; a whole new way of percieving... I think that is the place God desires His pilgrim people to be - in that daring place of following Him by Faith... and yes fear often accompanies it as we join Him on the journey to genuinely new place.

John Frye said...

I agree with Doug's comments above. I don't think that faith and fear are imcompatible. Only a shallow pietistic spirituality would play then against each other. The fact that the fearful ones still followed is what counts. Thanks for a meaningful essay for Holy Week.

Ted Gossard said...

Doug, I so much agree and very well stated. It's not easy to be there but the genuine faith walk and following is not easy either, with this being a part of that. Thanks!

Ted Gossard said...

John, Thanks so much. Shallow piety would fail then in "just" the book of Job alone. And that kind of piety certainly doesn't fit in God's book, though it seemed to with Job's friends. Scripture deals with us real humans and it's a good thing! And ultimately done and being done and will be done- in Jesus.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Interesting thoughts. I think of the old adage, "Faith is fashioned in the workshop of doubt." I wonder, if at times, if faith is also fashioned in the workshop of fear.

I know there are faithless kinds of fears, but I also know that some of my formative moments of faith were born in fear. It was in fear that I had no choice but to step out in faith.

Ted Gossard said...

Allan, Good thought. Fear also seems to be a part of life, more for some than for others. But not letting that fear deter us from seeking to follow in faith is surely a way of growing in faith in itself.

Thanks for sharing your thought and experience on this.