Have you ever noticed any throw away phrases or verses in the Bible? Now I know nothing is really throw away when it comes to the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, but at times it seems that way.
In Revelation when the Apostle John describes the New Jerusalem and that there are gates to it and God appoints angels watch over the comings and goings. That’s all it says… where are people going? Where are they coming from?
Another time in the Gospels it reads that Jesus walked along the beach and told the disciples many more stories. What stories? Will we ever hear those stories? Why weren’t they included in the Gospels?
Well in my opinion we come across one of those throw away phrases in today’s reading. In Acts 18:9 we read, “And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent.'” That sort of seems like a throw away verse, but hey wait a minute. The Apostle Paul was afraid? He must have been if God was telling him not to be afraid any longer. I can safely say that each one of us reading this blog post has been afraid at one time of their lives or another. And for many of us there is a real fear in sharing how much our salvation means to us. We are afraid of rejection, ridicule or isolation. And yet we have great company. Paul was afraid too. Perhaps afraid of much more. He had been beaten and flogged. That hasn’t happened to any of us for the sake of the gospel. If so let me know. I hold you in the highest regard.
But fear is fear. And to know that the Apostle Paul was afraid brings some measure of hope and calm to my spirit. The person we all look up to as spreading the gospel throughout the then known world was afraid. What a blessing — in sort of an odd way — that we are all in this together and fear is just part of the process. I have this feeling that God is telling us today not to fear, not to duck and run, but to share our faith with others in a winsome manner that draws people to Jesus.