Matthew 17:6-8

When the disciples heard (God’s voice) they fell facedown to the ground terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, “get up.” He said, “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

The writer of the proverbs said that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. That fear is more of a healthy respect for who God is and how awesome his Glory is. God deserves all of our respect. As humans we vacillate from utter disdain for God all the way to terror for God. Somewhere in the middle there should be a healthy respect for God. We should respect God more than the POTUS (President of the United States) and love God more than our parents. Somewhere our fear (respect) has been replaced with our fear (terror) of God.

In the Old Testament, 2 Samuel chapter 6, King David wanted to bring the Ark of God back to Jerusalem after years of the former administration not inquiring of God. David was initially overjoyed when they were bringing the ark back in until one of his men, Uzzah, reached out to steady the Ark with his hands. God struck him dead because he touched that which was Holy. Only the priests were allowed to touch the ark and that with a long pole. David was afraid to take God’s presence to his home so he left God (the ark) with Obed Edom. After God blessed Obed Edom’s home with his presence David changed his mind and wanted God back in his own home. David brought god back the right way using long handled poles.

Many people have a fear of God, which is a result of the traumatic and we’ve bought God back but we handle him with along handled pole to keep our distance.

Fast forward to Jesus in the New Testament. He’s on the mountain with Peter, James, and John. Elijah and Moses come back from the dead to talk with Jesus. Peter sees this and is overwhelmed and suggests to Jesus to build 3 shrines. God’s Glory appears in a cloud and says, “This is my son, listen to him. The disciples, like David are terrified! But God does something different this time…

  1. Jesus touches them! Uzzah died for touching the Ark but Jesus reaches out and touches the disciples to reassure them that God is not there to kill them but to bless them. God reaches out to touch them. In the OT God reaches out with judgment to kill Uzzah but in the NT Jesus reaches out with God’s grace. God wants to touch you with grace raise you not kill you.
  2. Jesus tells them, “Don’t be afraid.” In the OT, God’s presence brought fear (terror). In the NT God’s presence brings blessed assurance in the person of Jesus. We don’t have to fear God’s presence we can now look forward to it.
  3. The disciples looked up and saw no one except Jesus. To simplify who God is, we see all of who God is in the person of Jesus alone. When we find ourselves anxious or afraid we only have to look up to see Jesus alone. Don’t be afraid of God but lovingly respect him.

Dear God,

You are my shepherd therefore I will not be afraid. I am not terrified of your presence and neither will I disrespect your presence. I take your presence in my life serious and I will not take for granted the grace you have allowed for me to participate in the holy.

In Jesus Name,

Amen