In the Bible, you often see a historic truth that is at the same time prophetic. For instance, during the earthly ministry of Jesus, the Jews attempted to stop his preaching. They oppressed his disciples to keep them from following him. How the disciples responded to their fear of the Jews is indicative of what happened to Christians later. Catholicism and Communism both attempted to stop the gospel from spreading.
We must likewise realize that with globalization will come the suppression of the gospel once again. Those opposed to God will attempt to stop Christians from preaching the gospel and teaching the Bible. Then we are going to end up doing the same thing the disciples did when Jesus was here. Notice from the following passages what the fear of the Jews caused.
The Fear of the Jews Fostered:
Jn 7:13 Howbeit, no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. Jn 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Because of the fear of the Jews, everyone was cautious about saying anything to anyone publicly. They were afraid others might use their words to convict them of being a disciple. When the Pharisees were with Jesus, they tried to provoke him into saying something they could use against him, Lk 11:53-54. That’s what they did and that’s what they do. Is 29:21 says that they make a man an offender for a word.
Today we live in a country where you can still speak openly about Jesus Christ. You have no fear of being reported or arrested. Some may not like what you say but no authority is going to stop you. Nevertheless, should Jesus tarry, the same thing that happened to Jesus’s disciples will happen here. Should this time come in our lifetime, you don’t want to look back with regret. You’ll wish that you had spoken up when you had the liberty to do so.
Jn 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus…
Because of the fear of the Jews, many of Jesus’s disciples were secret disciples. They didn’t want anyone to know they were following Jesus. For secret disciples, the fear is that your own family will disown you, Matt 10:35-36. Or worse yet, you fear they will report you to the authorities, Matt 10:21. According to Mic 7:5-6, in times like this you can’t trust anyone.
Today we live in a country where we don’t have to keep our Christian faith a secret. We encourage each other to tell our family, friends, and neighbors about Jesus, in hope that they might get saved. Nevertheless, should Jesus tarry, the time will come when Christians will have to keep their faith a secret. Should this happen in your lifetime, you don’t want to look back with regret. You could have openly proclaimed your faith in Christ when you had the liberty to do so.
Jn 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews…
Because of the fear of the Jews, the disciples couldn’t assemble publicly. They had to hide. During the Catholic inquisition and during the communist purge of Christianity, local churches had to go underground. Christians had to meet in secret.
In the book, God’s Smuggler, Bro Andrew made many trips into communist countries to smuggle Bibles to Christians meeting in underground assemblies and churches. In one communist country, where a friend of ours currently works, when the communists took over, all the pastors were arrested and the churches were closed.
Today, we live in a country where we can meet openly and freely invite guests to join us. Nevertheless, should the Lord tarry, the time will come when, even in our country, churches may have to go underground. Should this time come in your lifetime, you don’t want to look back with regret. You didn’t invite more people to church when you could have done so with absolute liberty.
Conclusion to the Fear of the Jews
Today we have the liberty to speak without bridled tongues, to follow Jesus without being secret disciples, and to meet openly rather that in underground assemblies. Avail yourself of the liberty to publicly proclaim Jesus and worship him. The time may come when you can do none of these things.