I used to watch this show called Fear Factor. It’s a stunt show where people face their fears in an effort to win money. There are three rounds and the first stunt is usually something that doesn’t seem too bad (at least to those of us sitting at home watching who don’t have to complete the task). Then they move on, usually to eating something really gross like live bugs. Then for the final round there is a big stunt to complete. People are eliminated either for being to slow or simply because they are unable to complete the task, but every one of them enters into the competition willingly because they want to win the cash prize at the end.
Sometimes Christians experience a real fear factor just for walking with the Lord. I don’t know too much about that after all the worst thing that’s happened to me for being a Christian is I’ve lost a couple Facebook friends. Sometimes though I am still afraid to be his disciple, because I am afraid of the cost, even though it’s probably not going to cost me my life.
The same is not true for other Christians around the world though. There are Christians who are being threatened daily for their lives, they are beaten, tortured, killed because they follow Christ. Jesus earliest disciples and the original readers of Matthew would know this fear all too well, and that’s why Jesus talks about it.
He reminds them that they are not going to go anywhere that he himself has not already gone, and they are not above the master. Jesus reminds them that the threat they will face is not greater than the promise of his presence, and his care for them. It outweighs the fear they may face.
That’s easy for me to say, sitting on this side of the world. But for me it serves as a good reminder that there is no need to be afraid to be a Jesus follower in the world today, because he’s got my back and the goal is worth the cost.