If you wanted to, you could spend a year reading a different passage each day from the Bible about fear, worry, anxiety. I give up God’s peace in exchange for my small hang ups far too often. Yet, when I see him address fear in people I see so much mercy and understanding there.
In Mark 5 there is a theme of Jesus overcoming fear that I take heart from. My problems are some of the same things that these people struggled with; fear for my health, worry over my family, anxiety over the unknown and that I am not in control.
Fear of the Unknown
The Geraesene Demoniac was so out of control that he couldn’t be bound. His demonic possession was terrifying. Likely he had caused this town to fear him for a long time. The fact that it was known that he could break shackles is unsettling just by itself.
You would think that the release of this man from such evil would be a cause for happiness and celebration. This town would be released from the torture as well. But in verse 15 we are told that instead they were afraid. They begged Jesus to leave them!
What really scared them was the fact that they had tried everything they knew to control this man, and Jesus had just done it. They sensed he was more powerful than the demons. Though they were free of one fear, they held on to a deeper one; that they were not in control.
Fear of Anger and Rejection
As Jesus travels to see Jairus’s sick daughter, a woman who had struggled with her health for twelve years crept up to approach him. She was unclean and according to the law, should not have touched anyone since it would make them unclean as well.
It was irresistible to her that she might be healed. After suffering for so long she felt she had to touch Jesus’ garment. When he turned to find out who had touched him, she was filled with dread. She had been ostracized for twelve years, and her future was in this man’s hands.
When was the last time you were so overcome that you were shaking? Mark 5 tells us that she was trembling with fear. For me if I was so upset that I was shaking, that would definitely be accompanied by some cold sweats and a shaking voice. If there was ever someone who needed an immediate dose of God’s peace, this woman was it!
Clearly she was expecting his anger and rejection. But instead he spoke such beautiful words to her; ‘Go in peace.’ Friend it brings me to tears to picture this. Many times I have felt worthy of Christ’s rejection, only to be lifted up and comforted instead.
Fear of Death
Jesus continues with Jairus only to find that his daughter has already died. The first words out of Jesus’ mouth? Don’t be afraid. There isn’t anything I can imagine that compares with the idea of losing one of my kids. But death means nothing to my Holy God.
If Jesus can conquer death, what else is left for me to fear? Even if he chooses not to end my suffering, not to rescue me from the unknown that I face or the death of a person or dream I have, he is in control. I rest in the knowledge that when I walk through a fearful time in my life, that he walks with me, able to snatch me away at any moment
This chapter is an amazing look at the ways that Jesus conquers fear, but it is still a step further to give him my fears. When I exchange my fear for God’s peace, I am not signing up for an easy road to walk on. Odds are, he will ask me to trust him more and more as my life goes on. But this reminder that God can handle my fears keeps me withing arm’s reach of him and his peace.
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