As we continue our study of the Gospel of Luke, and specifically chapter 1, we will be finishing up Mary’s Magnificat this Sunday. As we consider Mary & Zechariah’s response to the angel Gabriel, they both expressed fear, and yet the fear motivated them differently. As the continued in the passage, one expresses the need to not fear, the other communicates the need to “fear God”. What seems like a difficult to understand text, is in reality an incredibly beautiful and comforting theology. Consider these words from the great John Newton in respect to the passage.
The Lord bids me “fear not”—and at the same time he says, “Happy is the man who fears always.”
How to fear and not to fear at the same time is, I believe, one branch of that secret of the Lord which none can understand but by the teaching of his Spirit.
When I think of my heart, of the world of the power of darkness—what cause of continual fear! I am on an enemy’s ground, and cannot move a step but some snare is spread for my feet.
But when I think of the person, grace, power, care, and faithfulness of my Savior, why may I not say — I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
I wish to be delivered from anxious and unbelieving fear, which weakens the hands and disquiets the heart.
I wish to increase in a humble jealousy and distrust of myself and of everything about me.
HT: Justin Taylor