Do Not Fear Those Who Can Kill Only the Body
What if someone broke into your house and threatened to kill you? How do you think you or I might react?
What if you were about to be killed because of your faith in Christ? What do you think you would say or do?
Or what if the fears of some came true, and the nuclear bombs began to fall? How do you think we would respond? Does the Bible have anything to say to us about such horrible and catastrophic events?
Earlier this week I read a scripture in which Jesus specifically addresses such fears. (I had not read it in a while, and it got my attention precisely because I myself have feared the kinds of things I just mentioned.) Jesus said, “And do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can kill both body and soul in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
These words of Jesus are sobering to say the least. But they are also comforting!
Imagine you were a Christian in a part of the world where some people wanted to kill you just because you believed Jesus is the Son of God. Your potential persecutors would of course want you to fear them, but would they have ever heard this verse where Jesus says not to fear those who can kill only the body but instead to fear only Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell? (Then your persecutors would be the ones who should be afraid for what they are about to do!)
Persecution, and even being killed for our faith, can happen in America. Christians have been shot in church worshipping God. It happened at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, S.C. and at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. Be honest. Have you feared that? Could such a fear keep you from going to church? Jesus says that a crazy shooter could kill your body but not your soul, and for that reason you should not fear such a person! He says you and I should fear only the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell.
Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column first appeared in the Pearland and Friendswood Reporter News.