For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Romans 8:15)
Do you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia? While that may sound like a condition on one of those pharmaceutical commercials, it’s not. Paraskevidekatriaphobia comes from the Greek word Paraskeví, meaning “Friday,” and dekatreís, meaning “thirteen.” It is the fear of Friday the thirteenth.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that between 17 and 21 million people dread that date to the extent that it can be officially classified as a phobia. I read an article that stated that some businesses, especially airlines, suffer huge losses on that day. But why? What’s the big deal about Friday the thirteenth?
Well, apparently nobody really knows. Some historians believe that the superstitions surrounding it arose in the late 19th century. The first documented mention of the day can be found in a biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th. A book published in 1907 entitled, Friday the Thirteenth, by American businessman Thomas Lawson, may have further perpetuated the superstition.
Some people even blame Jesus! It is noted that there were thirteen people in attendance at the Last Supper the night before Jesus was crucified on a Friday. But the Bible says: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
As followers of Jesus we have no need to fear what happens on Friday the thirteenth, or any other day for that matter. Because of what Jesus did for us on a Friday, we can live every day in the assurance of the victory that was won. This Sunday, with the Lord’s Supper, we’ll be commemorating the Friday that fear was kicked to the curb. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."