In President's Messages

Do not be afraid…for he has risen

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here: for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” — Matthew 28:5

April 1, 2024

When angels appear in the Gospels, they often say: “Do not be afraid.”

When the angel appeared to Zechariah in the Temple he said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard.” (Luke 1:13)

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive and bear a son he said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30)

When an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream he said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20)

When the angel appeared to the shepherds in the field he said, “Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.” (Luke 2:10)

And, after Jesus had been crucified, died and was buried, an angel said to the women who came to his tomb, “Do not be afraid…for he has risen.” (Matthew 28:5)

Each time the angel told someone not to be afraid, the angel also told them why they should not be afraid: “For your prayer is heard.” “For you have found favor with God.” “For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” “For I bring you good news of a great joy.” “For he has risen.”

We live in a time filled with fear. We are afraid of the political polarization which consumes our nation. We are afraid the wars in Ukraine and in the Gaza Strip might grow into larger wars. We are afraid over the conflict in the United Methodist Church regarding the disaffiliation of congregations and the establishment of the Global Methodist Church. And we have personal fears over health issues, family issues, employment issues and more. In this time of fear, we need to be people who put our complete faith in our God who overcomes all fears by reminding us that “our prayers are heard,” “we have found favor with God,” “the Holy Spirit is with us,” God brings us “Good News of a great joy,” and “He is risen.”

Out of every fearful and crucifying situation we face, God brings new life, hope and love through the life and teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ when we put our complete trust in him and surrender ourselves, our desires, our loved ones and our situations into his loving hands.

Bill and Gloria Gaither express our hope in their Easter hymn “Because He Lives”:

Because he lives, I can face tomorrow;
because he lives, all fear is gone;
because I know he holds the future,
and life is worth the living just because he lives.

HE IS RISEN! Alleluia!

Dr. Kent Millard
United Theological Seminary

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