He placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Rev. 1:17-18

Lord Jesus, it’s stunning, liberating and timely to know the most repeated command throughout the whole Bible is “Do not be afraid.” The angels spoke these words to startled shepherds at your birth, and you repeated the command to a devastated Mary on the morning of your resurrection. Now, through the gospel, you speak the same soul-centering life-giving words to our hearts. “Do not be afraid!” It’s not about bucking up, but believing you.

Because you are the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, we don’t have to be afraid of anything in between those brackets. You are God, and we are so very not. You will never say “Oops” about anything you decree in world history or anything you bring into our daily lives.

Lord Jesus, you never “try” to do anything, as though there could ever be “trial and error” with you. You never have to scratch your head in confusion, or resort to some plan B or C. You are perfectly executing your sovereign will all the time, from naming the stars to numbering our hairs.

Because you are the Living One, who was dead and who is now alive forever, we don’t have to be afraid of Judgment Day or this day, for your cross was our Judgment Day and your resurrection is our assurance of complete acceptance by God. We no longer live under the weight of our guilt, for we now live in the delight of our Father. He persistently shouts to our hearts, “There is now and forevermore no condemnation for those who are in Christ!” To which we shout back, “Hallelujah! many times over!

Jesus, because you hold the keys of death and Hades, and to everything else, we don’t have to be afraid to die or live. You have robbed the grave of its victory; you have removed the sting of death; and you have defeated the devil and all the powers of darkness! We don’t have to be afraid of difficult people or devastating circumstances. We don’t have to be afraid of failing health or heart-wrenching providences. We don’t have to fear more terrorists in the world or failures on our part. Yes, yes, YES!

We know you will never leave or forsake us, and we know we are secure in the palm of your hand. Free us more fully from our fears that we might live more fully to the praise of your glorious grace. So very Amen we pray in your loving and powerful name.