Jump Start # 2565
Luke 8:37 “And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.”
When one takes a quick overview of the Gospels, he will notice that people were afraid of Jesus. Even the chosen twelve had great moments of fear. Now, people get afraid of others for many reasons. I don’t do haunted houses. I don’t need to pay money for someone to jump out behind me and make me scream. That’s not my definition of fun. Some are afraid of relationships. They have gone through some bad experiences and now they just steer clear of commitment or getting close to someone. Some fear the dentist. Some fear getting a shot at the doctor’s office. Some fear the police.
But with Jesus, people were afraid because they had never seen the things He was doing. From our verse today, legions of demons were transferred out of a man into a herd of hogs. The pigs rushed into the sea and they all downed. The possessed man, once naked, screaming, breaking chains and living in the cemetery, was now clothed, sitting down and normal. Nothing like this had ever happened before. Our verse says the citizens of the area were gripped with great fear. They wanted Jesus to leave. They didn’t know what else may happen.
This wasn’t the only time. When Jesus was walking on the water, the disciples, seeing Him, became afraid. Another occasion, when the disciples awoke Jesus during the storm, He rebuked the wind and the sea. The storm stopped. Mark’s Gospel says the disciples, ‘became very much afraid”.
Afraid of Jesus, that’s a thought. Why might people be afraid of Jesus today?
First, they may be afraid that they are not good enough. Not good enough for church and definitely not good enough for Heaven. And, they are right. They are not. No one is. None of us are good enough. We are not going to Heaven because of the number of gold stars on the top of our paper. We are saved by the grace of God. Looking over your life, you see failures, sins, and mistakes. You said things that you shouldn’t have. There are times you could have tried harder, but you didn’t. There are people that you should have told about Jesus, but you didn’t. These memories pile up. The coming judgment scares us. We wonder if we will make it. These thoughts can wreck our confidence and chip away at any assurance that we may have had in the Lord. Perfection without sin isn’t possible. So, our only hope is in the blood of Jesus. Trust, faith and grace are the three essential keys that allows us to walk in the light with the Lord.
Second, some have a distorted view of Jesus. Their concept isn’t Biblically based, but life based. They see tragedies and evil in the world and they suppose that God is behind all of that. On a personal level, they see God as making their life difficult. Closed doors. Unanswered prayers. Hardships. They believe God is behind all of those things. They have a hard time believing that God is good. They would point to their own life as exhibit A. Somehow they feel that God is out to get them. Either He is punishing them right now, or God simply does not like them and is making life an uphill battle for them. And, because of that, they are afraid of Jesus.
If they would spend time in a serious study of God’s word they would learn that Satan is behind most of this, not God. They would see that God has blessed them and that God loves them. But, as it is, they want nothing to do with God because they are afraid of Him.
Third, others are afraid of Jesus because they think He is against all fun. Fun, as they view it often involves immoral and wrong things, which God is against. But God is a God of joy. Laughter, enjoying life, appreciating the good things in life is not opposed to the nature of God. Hell, fire and brimstone preaching can leave the impression that all the Bible does is condemn. Christianity, therefore is defined by what one can’t do. So, some stay at a distance from God and His word. Judgmental, condemning and stopping fun is something that they want no part in. Little do they realize that the Bible applies to all people, whether one believes it or not. The Bible isn’t just for Christians. If one stays out of religion, then the rules do not apply to them, is a false concept. The speed limits in Indiana applies to all drivers, not just residents of Indiana. So, a person can be passing through Indiana, and not from here, yet the rules of the road apply. A person can be from a different country, and if he is driving in Indiana, the rules of the road applies to him. Like that, the Bible applies to all people, whether I believe in it or not.
There is a sense in which we ought to fear God. That fear will keep us in our place and make us respect Him. Without any fear, we might think that we can say anything and do anything we want with God. Job learned that wasn’t true. But this reverent fear of God shouldn’t keep us away from Him. He wants us to draw near to Him. He wants us to love Him. He wants to be our Father.
Don’t allow your fear to keep you away from Jesus. You need to be close to Him. He needs to dwell in your heart. We need Jesus every hour. He wants you to know Him, trust Him, and believe in Him.