May 22nd

 

Fear Blocks Jesus

26They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" 29For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
30Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"
31"Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
32A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. 33When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39"Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.  Luke 8:26-39 NIV

 

Jesus frequently healed people who were oppressed by demons.  The above passage is a dramatic example of one occasion when Jesus healed a person in Gerasene who had many demons inhabiting him.  The extent of the demonic oppression underscored the extraordinary deliverance that Jesus gave the man. 

 

The part of the passage I would like to discuss today is verses 36-37.  The people of the region were “overcome with fear” and asked Jesus to leave; so he did.  No doubt there were other demonically oppressed and sick people in the region, but the people allowed fear to prevent Jesus from performing further ministry among them.  All that Jesus could do was to instruct the healed man to witness to those in his town about what Jesus had done for him. 

 

Fear can be a powerful emotion.  It can also be inflated or enhanced by “spirits of fear.”  Satan and his servants have worked very hard over the years to enslave people to fear and prevent them from enjoying life as God intended it to be.  Jesus came to set us free from slavery to the fear of death (Hebrews 2:15), which is the root of every other kind of fear. 

 

As followers of Jesus, we must not let fear dictate our actions.  We must realize that Satan wants to stop us from being delivered from the sins that hold us and from living the new life in Christ.  He often uses fear to persuade us not to wholeheartedly follow God and receive what God says our inheritance is in Christ (Luke 4:18-21).  Some examples of fear in action include: 

 

We are called to stand in faith, which is the opposite of fear. Paul wrote, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong”(1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV).   Faith is where we believe God and respond to his word, not to our feelings. 

 

Here are some examples of standing in faith instead of fear: God’s word says we have authority over evil spirits, so we can command them to get out of our lives (Mark 16:17-18).  God’s word says that when God is our helper, no person or evil spirit can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:37-39; Hebrews 13:6). God’s word says that by Jesus’ wounds we have been healed (1 Peter 2:24) so we can claim that healing for whatever ailments we have.  God’s word says that our confession of sins brings forgiveness and purification, so we can approach God boldly with our requests after confession (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 4:16).

 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, thank you that I can respond in faith to anything that happens in life.  Thank you for setting me free from the power of the devil and fear.  Thank you that through my faith in you I can overcome any obstacle.  Please forgive me for any time that I allowed fear to block your work in my life.   Please help me to stand in faith from this day forward and live the life that you have made available to me as a child of God.  Thank you, Jesus!  In your name I pray, Amen.”