Mark 11:18 NKJV And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
You might remember the nursery rhyme, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? The big bad wolf? The big bad wolf…” But certainly not, who’s afraid of Jesus? Yet the scribes and chief priests were threatened and terrified by the teaching of Jesus. They were afraid of losing their power and position among the people they were called to serve, but instead looked at as people sent to serve them. They were afraid of losing their power so much that they were willing to destroy others for it.
Jesus certainly didn’t want His followers to leave Him, betray Him, nor deny Him, yet He wasn’t afraid of them leaving Him either. Jesus’ confidence in who He was/is, His purpose, and His commitment to serve others empowered Him to not fear when others weren’t so sure footed and left him.
Pastors, church leadership, ministry leaders, and church goers however often fear when they attendance begins to wain within a church. They are afraid the bills won’t be paid, that the work won’t be done (or they will have to do even more of it themselves), other people won’t see them as influential anymore, that they aren’t a good speaker, or their own feeling of self-worth is being threatened all of which is distracting them from where their focus should lie.
You see whether its people leaving your church or leaving your life you will have the opportunity to fear, but you don’t have to. It was Jesus’ confidence in His relationship with the Father and knowing who He was that protected Him from the fear that comes when our identity is wrapped up in people or what we do. It was the surety in His purpose that allowed Him to fearlessly stand against the pressures that said you are going under and fulfill His purpose when nobody else was left to stand with Him. It was His commitment to serve that protected Him from the fear of what others said about Him, fear of how many followed Him, or what they thought about Him.
In life and in local churches, people will come and go. You don’t have to be moved to fear during those times. The scribes and chief priests feared for selfish reasons… all fear is selfish, but knowing your identity, your purpose, and your strategy to see it through will keep you steady and fearless when people leave.