THIS WEEK: ReDiscover LOVE!
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. —1 John 4:18
There are a lot of things that could have kept those wisemen at home. Most of them would have come down to fear. There was fear of the unknown: a new star, a journey to a new land wherever this star would lead them. There was fear for their safety: Traveling the harsh, desert roads of the ancient Middle East was a dangerous venture. Besides the inhospitable terrain for you and your vehicles, aka livestock, you had to stay vigilant against robbers or warlords. The Magi could have easily feared loss. We know they carried gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give to Jesus. It seems they were wealthy. They must have been a target to would-be assailants. Fear of ridicule could have kept them at home. What if they were wrong about this star? They would have had hours and hours to second-guess themselves as they plodded onward. Fear of power could have derailed them or thwarted their mission as they were called before the mighty ruler Herod.
Fear could not stop the Magi. Nothing would stop them on their mysterious journey. They came as if called. They came to worship and give powerfully symbolic gifts—gifts fit for a king—to the infant Jesus. They also came as representatives of the message that the gift of Jesus is for every race, every people, every nation. Love thrives in the absence of fear. And as John describes, perfect love drives out fear. The love of God embodied in Jesus fills us with the courage to cross borders and face danger and discomfort. It frees us from insecurity and rejection and judgment. It frees us from the divisive fear of the other and brings us together, united as God’s children.
Apply: What fears are troubling your heart? How can you step out against fear, empowered by God’s perfect love?
(Reprinted with permission from Outreach.com “Advent Reading Plan”)