“Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the Lord.” —Psalm 31:25

As Jesus agonized over His decision to lay down His life for us, He was so severely tempted to give in to fear that His sweat became as drops of blood (Lk 22:44). Nonetheless, Jesus refused to be intimidated by Satan. He stood up to a cohort of soldiers and several police officers (Jn 18:3). “They retreated slightly and fell to the ground” (Jn 18:6) in the face of Jesus’ love and courage. Then Jesus fearlessly died on the cross for us. However, except for the beloved disciple and the three Marys at the foot of His cross (Jn 19:25-26), Jesus’ apostles and disciples succumbed to fear and abandoned Christ.

After Jesus’ death, fear began to lose its stranglehold on the world. First, Joseph of Arimathea, one of Jesus’ secret disciples “for fear of the Jews,” fearlessly came forth and asked Pilate for Jesus’ body (Jn 19:38). Then Nicodemus, a formerly intimidated member of the Sanhedrin (see Jn 7:50ff), brought about a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to prepare Jesus’ body for burial (Jn 19:39). However, Jesus’ apostles continued to be locked in fear (Jn 20:19) until Pentecost, when the power of fear was put to death and the Church was born. Fear not. Jesus has died! Jesus has risen! Jesus will come again! Fear not (see Mk 5:36).

PRAYER: Father, by my Baptism into Jesus’ death, burial, and Resurrection, I will not give in to fear.
PROMISE: “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.” –Heb 5:8-9

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