Fear and Trembling:  A Response to the Work of God

March 14, 2022

The work of God in this world is so wonderful, so stunning, that it causes many emotions to well up inside of us—thankfulness, delight, and love to name a few.  There is another powerful human emotion that we see throughout scripture in response to the mighty power of God:  fear and trembling.

In Luke chapter 7, Jesus went to a city called Nain.  As He approached the city, he saw a young man, the only son of his widowed mother, being carried out in a coffin.  His mother followed along weeping.  When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her. Jesus touched the coffin and commanded the young man to arise.  The dead man sat up and began to speak, and the Lord gave him back to His mother.  What was the reaction of the people in the crowd that were gathered around?  “Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God…” (Luke 7:16, NASB)

In Luke chapter 5, we read of the paralyzed man who was lowered down through the roof so that Jesus could heal him.  Jesus forgave the man’s sins and then commanded the paralytic to get up, pick up his stretcher, and go home.  Immediately the man got up and walked.  What was the reaction of the people who witnessed this miracle? “They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear…” (Luke 5:26, NASB)

We see this response of fear and trembling in the disciples when Jesus stilled the sea.  As the wind blew fiercely and the waves were breaking over the boat, the disciples woke Jesus and cried out to Him for help.  Jesus got up, rebuked the wind, and commanded the sea to be still.  Upon seeing this, the disciples “…became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” (Mark 4:41, NASB)

The mighty works of God are not just things that happened long ago in Bible times.  The Lord has done—and is doing—mighty works in you and me today!  He has caused us to die to our old selves, raised us up to newness of life, caused His Spirit to dwell in us, and is presently working to transform us in our inner being.  These are stunning realities that people who lived before the cross of Christ couldn’t fathom.  If we could grasp more deeply the mighty work that God has accomplished, we too would be full of fear and trembling.  May we approach the throne of grace today with reverence and awe for our Mighty God.

—Scott Colvin