[Jesus continued,] "Dear friends, don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I'll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he's the one to fear."
— Luke 12:4-5 NLT
Most of us, me included, much prefer to speak about God's grace, love, and mercy. Every once in awhile, however, we hit one of those "shake you to the core" passages that remind us of God's holiness and our sinfulness. God doesn't want to punish or condemn us. Jesus is proof of that. But, he is the creator, and he has paid an enormous price to bring us back to him after our rebellion.  When we ignore his grace, mercy, and love, we are choosing disaster and judgment. God's grace, mercy, and love are revealed and offered to us in Jesus. To reject Jesus is to reject God and his grace, mercy, and love  and to choose judgment and condemnation. In the Good News so focused on God's desire to save all people in all walks of life, the warning in today's verses must be taken seriously. Jesus wants us to know that what we decide about him and what we do with his life and teachings mean everything for us eternally.
Father, forgive me when I have trivialized your grace, mercy, and love that were so powerfully offered to me through Jesus. Forgive me, O God, for the times that I have not been awed by your holiness, not been touched by your sacrificial mercy, and not been wounded by the price you paid to extend grace to me. Thank you with all that I am for Jesus, in whose name I offer this petition and prayer. Amen.