Stuck in Fear

2021-02-14 – Year B – Last Sunday of Epiphany
The Rev. Canon Christopher M. Klukas
1 Kings 19:9-18; Psalms 27; Mark 9:2-9

  • Climbing onto the roof in Pitcairn

Elijah’s Fear

  • Today we meet Elijah, sitting in a cave, exhausted and fearing for his life.
  • God’s question “contains an implied rebuke, and yet evokes confession of our fears and feelings.”
  • Elijah feels alone, he feels like a failure, he feels exhausted, and he is scared for his life.
  • Elijah was paralyzed by fear to the point where he could no longer move forward. He was stuck. Just like me on that roof, but far worse!
  • I think we all get to that place sometimes. Things seem to be falling apart all around us and we are scared to move forward and scared to turn around and go back.
  • Maybe you have found yourself in that place even this year.
  • Elijah did some pretty amazing things as the prophet of God, but even he experienced this fear like we do.

Jesus’s Fear

  • We see fear pop up in the gospel passage today as well.
  • The disciples were terrified and didn’t know what to say (vv. 5-6).
  • What was their to be afraid of? Their best friend and teacher lit up like a search light and two figures from Israel’s past appeared next to him.
  • The transfiguration is a liturgical bridge to Lent and it marks a distinct shift in each of the three synoptic Gospels as well.
    • v. 4 Jesus was talking with Moses and Elijah – what were they talking about?
    • Jesus sets his face towards Jerusalem
    • Up to this point Jesus has been gathering his disciples, not he is headed for the cross.
    • Was he scared? I imagine he must have been.
      • The Garden of Gethsemene – Matthew 26:38–39
      • Luke records that as Jesus prayed his sweat became like drops of blood because of his agnoy (Luke 22:44)

Navigating Fear

  • Remember the past and the truth about God
    • “Implied in this [second] response is Elijah’s doubts that the Lord can save him or turn the nation back to the covenant. Who has God become in the prophet’s life? Only a restatement and reassessment of his theology can extricate him from this pit of fear and depression.”
    • Psalm 27:1-4 “Whom then shall I fear”
    • If you do this in song, even better!
  • Jesus knows what you are going through (Hebrews 4:15–16)
  • We can take our anxiety to God in prayer – Psalm 27:11 “Seek my face”
    • What a friend we have in Jesus – Take it to the Lord in prayer
    • The rest of Psalm 27 is the psalmist pouring out his heart to God and asking for the Lord’s help.
    • Philippians 4:6–7 “Do not be anxious”
  • Not a Spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:6–7).
  • The Lord knows what we can handle, and he will provide relief when the situation is too much for us. Elisha for Elijah (1 Kings 19:15-16)

Conclusion

  • Are you fearful today? Is your heart in agony over some heavy weight?
  • The Lord longs to bear your burdens with you. He is good. He is sovereign over all creation, and he loves you. Give you burden to the Lord and let him walk with you.

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