Fear of Outsiders – Need for Community
Scripture: Matthew 16:18
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Last week we started looking at the universal fears that all societies have in common. The fear of death was the first fear and we spent last week bringing God’s answer to that fear factor.
Today we start a seven-day journey to look for God’s answer to the fear of outsiders. Every society had this fear in common – they were driven to create a community around them that would protect against outsiders. Community is a gathering of a smaller segment of people who have things in common, especially this fear of outsiders. They often have other things in common as well. In particular, the general area in which they live. It is very common that they picked this area to live because they saw that the other families, already in that community, matched their values.
The Bible understands this fear and need. It has a name for this concept… church. The New Testament writers were not thinking of a building but, rather, a gathering. The church was when people, with a common faith in Jesus Christ, gathered to encourage and edify each other. This “community” was God’s answer to the fears and dangers of the evil one and all his evil influences. Our scripture reminds us that God had plans, ever since this encounter with Peter, to build His church. Faith in Jesus, as God’s Son, would be the central “rock” that all the communities would build on. It’s scary to be alone… we were meant to be in community!
Father, thanks for knowing what I would need before I knew. I’m glad to have your community in my life. In Jesus’ Name, amen.