Matthew 8:26, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”
All throughout Scripture we hear the command, “Fear the Lord” only to elsewhere be juxtaposed with, “Fear not!” Jesus Himself says to fear him who has the power to destroy both body and soul in Hell, then subsequently not to fear since God values us more than sparrows (Matthew 10:26-33). Why fear God? Because His wrath to utterly destroy us in Hell is real, and we all deserve it. Eternal torment in the fiery, sulfurous pit of Hell awaits all who hate and reject God. But we whom God calls His own meet the end of our fear in Christ Jesus. So long as we cling to Christ the Word, He upholds us, sheltering us from the wrath of God that surrounds us, for He has taken it upon Himself. Yet as soon as we lose trust in the Word and see the wrath of God around us, we perish.
“Why are you afraid,” Jesus asks Peter when he looks away from Christ and begins to perish in the storm. We see here a twofold reality: Christ the ruler of creation and Christ the ruler of our salvation. Peter had no reason to fear because Christ the ruler of creation and salvation was standing on the water in front of him! So, why would Jesus allow His own to perish? Fear God, yes, but why live in that perpetual terror when Christ is the end of it? Christ stands in the way of God’s wrath for us by faith. Thus, we see how it is not the will of man that prevents damnation, but the will of Christ—God’s Word incarnate. We do not need to fear because it is Christ the Word who upholds us, not our fickle, feeble will. Fear God, for His wrath is just. Fear not, for Christ the propitiation has reconciled us to God and upholds our reconciliation by faith.