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 so freeing to know the most repeated command in the entire Bible is “Do not be afraid.” The angels spoke these words to startled shepherds at your birth; and Mary heard you same, the morning of your resurrection. Now you address us: “Do not be afraid.”
Because you are “the First and the Last,” Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of anything in between. You will never say “Oops” about anything in world history, or our lives. You are perfectly executing your sovereign will—from naming the stars to numbering our days; writing our stories and redeeming our pain; ruling over kings and praying for our joy.
Because you are “the Living One,” we don’t have to be afraid of Judgment Day, this Monday, or any day. Your death and resurrection guarantee there’s no condemnation left for our sin (Rom. 8:1), and no separation from God’s love (Rom 8:38-39). You are working in all things for our good (Rom. 8:28), and will return at just the perfect moment.
Jesus, because you “hold the keys of death and Hades,” we don’t have to be afraid of death, or life. Death is now gain, and you are our life (Phil. 1:21). Our failures don’t define us, your righteousness does. Our weakness is where your strength is made perfect. Our brokenness is where you paint with the color of grace. It’s so awesome to belong to you, Jesus. So very Amen we pray, in your kind and powerful name.