These are the words of the Lord to an “innumerable multitude of people”. (Luke 12:1) Luke 12:4-5 says, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” There is a parallel passage found in Matthew. Matthew 10:28 says, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The Lord Jesus, in His instructions tells this great crowd of people that there are those who should not be feared and there is ONE who should be feared. It is man that can kill the body. Man can persecute us. Man can wound our bodies and even wound our spirits. Man can tempt us to sin and dishonor the Lord. At death, man has no more power over us. They cannot touch us or hurt us again. Man can kill the body, but he cannot kill the soul. We should not fear man. Hebrews 13:6 says to those who believe, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” To those whom the Lord calls “my friends” there is no reason to fear man. The sphere of their damage is limited to this earth. The Lord realized that some in that great group would be called up to give up their lives for their testimony. Many would be persecuted terribly, losing their families and their homes. Man can do great damage, but still, they are not to be feared. The worst man can do is kill our bodies, which only serves to usher us into the presence of the Lord. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

There is one, whoever, that should be feared. This One not only can take away life, but He can cast soul and body into hell. Who can do that? Only the Lord has that power! How is it that we are to fear God? Should Christian be afraid of God? Not really. Believers should take very, very seriously the teachings of the Word of God, but the thought presented is that we should greatly revere the Lord for who His is. The Lord does not want us to be afraid of Him, yet He does desire the respect due His name and He desires that we bow ourselves before Him, realizing somewhat of His power to judge and the power to set free. This is the One we are told to fear.

  • Proverbs 9:10 teaches us that “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
  • Proverbs 29:25 teaches us that “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

May we cease from fearing man, and fear (revere) that loving One who freed us from our sins by sending His only begotten Son to die in our stead, so that we might have forgiveness of sin. (251.8)