“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12: 4-6. (Matthew: 10:28-31)
Fear and do not fear: one sentence after another. First note that Jesus is speaking to His friends. This is very important since Jesus says (in John 15:14) that you are His friends if you do what He commands you and it also presumes relationship with Him.
1. Do not be afraid (v. 4 above). That is do not be afraid of men. The original Greek word that was used is the same one that we get our word for phobia from (e.g. arachnaphobia, technophobia, etc.). If God is for us who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32). So don’t have phobias about what men can do. They can only affect your body.
2. Fear Him (v. 5). It would be easier, perhaps nicer, if fear wasn’t the exact same word but it is, even in the Greek. We do need to be afraid of God even if we are friends of Jesus because God can put both our body and soul in Hell after we die. And that is much worse than our body dying.
3. Do not fear (v.6). Same word again! This time Jesus is assuring His friends that they don’t have to be afraid about being put into Hell. Even though God can do it, He won’t do it to them because they are His friends.
The point is that we need to stay being His friends, i.e. in relationship with Jesus and obeying His commands. Otherwise why would Jesus tell us to fear Him?