READ: Numbers 34-36, Psalm 52, Luke 8, 1 Corinthians 8
AFRAID OF JESUS
Everybody is afraid of Jesus, some just don’t know it yet. If you are not afraid of Jesus, you either have not seen Him as He is or you are stupid – or maybe both. In Luke 8 we have a litany of those who are terrified of Jesus. Their fear leads them to different reactions.
The disciples first fear that they will perish, but when Jesus calms the raging waters, they become more afraid of Jesus than the storm. “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him” (8:25)! Greater fears overcome lesser fears.
Next, the demons join the disciples in fearing Jesus. A legion of evil spirits tremble before Jesus (v. 28) and beg not to be tormented before their time. The demons are terrified of Jesus and His authority to condemn them to the abyss before their time.
The denizens of Gadarene join the fearful queue and they, too, beg. In one of the saddest verses of the Bible, the Gadarenes beg Jesus to leave their presence. They feared Jesus, but they feared that He would take away their source of income, change their way of living. They preferred their pigs to the Prince of Life and Provision: their fear of what Jesus would do to them made them drive Jesus away.
A daughter (v. 47) falls at Jesus’ feet, afraid of what her plea might cost her (for indeed healing costs Jesus something, power went out of Him). Her fear of sickness and death led her to approach the Lord of Fear and her faith was rewarded with healing.
Disciples, demoniacs, denizens, and daughters were all afraid of Jesus, as they should be. If we are not afraid of Jesus, we have misunderstood Him. The point is not fear – that is common to all who encounter Jesus; the point is whether or not that fear drives us closer to Him or drives Him away from us. The choice is predicated on what is the greatest fear in our lives. If our greatest fears revolve around security, self-preservation, and safety, then Jesus makes us uncomfortable because His presence seems to undermine our efforts at stability. If our greatest fears are sin and being separated from the presence of Jesus, then our intimidating encounters with Him lead us to pursue Him, even at cost.
If you are not afraid of Jesus, you should be. If you are afraid of Jesus, that fear is intended to draw you closer. It is counterintuitive, but fear can lead to faith. Perfect love casts out lesser fears and teaches us to embrace the appropriate fear of the Lord who commands waves, demons, and sickness to do His bidding. Don’t be afraid of fearing Jesus.