Summary: One of Jesus’ encouraging messages of faith
From Fear to Faith
Sunday 12 August, 2001
After addressing the crowd which had gathered (v1), and
answering the question of the man who wanted his share of the
family inheritance, Jesus turns to speak to His disciples again.
Verses 32-36 are first of all words of encouragement and teaching
from Jesus on the nature of his kingdom and what sort of people
we ought to be to be in it.
Verses 37-40 is a parable about a man’s servants and how they
ought to act as they await his return.
Words of Faith and Encouragement
v32-36 are words of great encouragement from Jesus:
“Do not be afraid.”
There are so many things in life that can make us fearful, and
that make worry come and haunt us.
Jesus, the Shepherd of the flock speaks to help, to strengthen His
sheep, His flock.
What does Jesus say to the disciples about this?
What introduces us to today’s message, is the middle part of this
chapter: verses 22-31. These words are all about NOT worrying,
but instead being faithful and looking outward to the kingdom of
Faith is the great eternal antidote to fear. So Jesus does not just
say: “Do not worry about that; it will all work out in the end.”
Here is no homespun philosophy, but instead an alternative way
of thinking and practical living.
Jesus calls His people to be people of faith, and their fear will go
away. He says that while faith is present, fear will not bother you
any more. This is because the two cannot co-exist.
In today’s passage, Jesus speaks to the disciples about all the
things they would naturally begin to fret about when they didn’t
have them e.g. food, clothing, the ordinary means of life: v22-23.
For example, when a foreign power came against your city in
those days, the idea was to set siege to the city and starve the
This was the case with the city of Jerusalem in the days of Jesus,
and the common people were the first to worry because they
were the first to suffer in such circumstances. All very
2000 years later, we panic if we THINK that we will not have
enough of the right kind of food, or the right clothes on! Whether
it be shoes or eyeshadow, we can worry unnecessarily.
Jesus says your life consists of more than food and your body of
more than clothing.
Jesus then gives examples of how the Lord provides for
carrion-eating birds, the ravens, and that we are more valued by
God than birds and animals. (An answer to animal rights
extremists, right there.)
Ravens are sometimes pictured as evil birds which pick at the
eyes of evil, dead people (Prov 30:17); or they are seen as helpers,
as desert waiters, in the case of the prophet Elijah, bringing him
food morning and evening. Ravens are also seen as birds that
God feeds, out of His gracious loving care for all His creatures.
(Ps 147:9 )
For us whom God values so much more and provides for every
day, as another passage says:
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." (Lk
4:4, Deut 8:3)
And Jesus chose that verse of Scripture when He was starving for
bread in the wilderness!
Just as God provides for the beautiful lilies which do not have to
work, or make their own attire, so He will provide what we need
to eat and drink and to wear if we follow Him.
God has never failed to provide what we need up until today,
and He has no intention of failing us in the future.
As someone once said:
“God is no one’s debtor.”
This is to encourage our faith in God.
What we value most, is what we set our hearts upon. What He
wants is for us to stop the worrying that comes from fear, and
instead have faith in Him.
Faith is a great thing. It is invisible and it is free. It is also
extremely useful and fruitful. Jesus once asked: “...when the Son
of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Lk 18:8)
Will He find faith in your heart?
Will He find it demonstrated in your actions?
Will He find it in the hearts of those we live among?
Will we have passed it on?
Jesus calls us to faith instead of fear and worry.
v 22 Do not worry
v 25 Who by worrying, says Jesus, can add a single hour to their
life or add a centimetre to their height? You don’t grow by
v 26 If you can’t do a little thing like that i.e. adding a little time
to your mortal life, why do you worry about the rest?