Don’t Be Alarmed: Supernatural Encounters May Be Scary

Don’t Be Alarmed: Supernatural Encounters May Be Scary

Angels often start by telling the people they visit to not be afraid

The Book of Mark wraps up with three women going to the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body. They are Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. They approach the tomb preoccupied, wondering how they will roll the stone away to gain access. As it turns out, this won’t be a problem.

When they arrive at the tomb the stone has already been rolled away. They see a young man sitting there. He’s wearing a white robe. He’s like an angel, but there’s no indication if they realize this or not. But his presence does surprise them.

The first thing he says is, “Don’t be alarmed!” (Mark 16:6, CEB).

Throughout the Bible, whenever anyone has a supernatural encounter with angels, one of the first things these heavenly beings say is usually, “Don’t be afraid!”

I get this.

Should someone not from this world appear before us, our first reaction would certainly be fright. Without assurance, our first response would likely be flight. It would be hard for us to hear their heavenly message if we were running away from them.

I’d like to think my reaction would be different. I’d like to think I wouldn’t be afraid of an angel that God sent to me. I’d like to think I would confidently hear everything they would say, though in awe over their presence.

But I know me. I know better. Though I might be brave in my spirit, in my mind I would fear, just like everyone else.

What will our reaction be when we see God for the first time? Click To Tweet

If a typical reaction to an angelic encounter is fear, what will our reaction be when we see God for the first time?

I’d like to think I’d feel peace. I’d like to think I would approach him with confidence and embrace him. I’d like to think I would remain calm.

But I know me. I know better. I’m sure I would tremble in his presence. Fear and excitement would surge through me in anticipation and apprehension, quaking in fear over the unknown.

I suspect the first words God will say to me will be, “Don’t be alarmed. Do not fear.”

And then everything will be okay, because I will be home, basking in the glory of his presence.

[Read through the Bible this year. Today’s reading is Mark 14-16, and today’s post is on Mark 16:5-6.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.


  • Linda Vogt Turner Posted August 17, 2017 5:10 am

    Take out the commas and Mary Magdalene is Salome and Mary the mother of James. When she saw the empty tomb and saw the young person dressed in white telling her not to fear, she started to trust the angels and realized they were there to help her and the Rabboni bring Shalom!

    • Peter DeHaan Posted August 17, 2017 7:08 am

      Linda, I do sometimes wonder about punctuation in the various versions of the Bible I read and how they can clarify or confuse or change the meaning.

      • Linda Vogt Turner Posted August 18, 2017 12:32 pm

        I speak to the commas and the punctuation in my MA thesis :Mary Magdalene Her image and relationship to Jesus… It is not only the commas, it is the versification.

        • Peter DeHaan Posted August 18, 2017 2:48 pm

          Yes, the chapter and verse notations in the Bible can cause problems as we read it.

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