Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fear as: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Fear can protect us by alerting us to the need for caution. Fear can also hurt us. It can induce us to make bad decisions, and it can even paralyze us into making no decision at all. The passage from today's sermon was Mark 5, which relates the stories of three different people that Jesus encountered during his ministry around the Sea of Galilee. These three stories illustrate the power that Jesus has over our fear, if only we allow him to wield it.
The first story is about a demon-possessed man. This man had been living among the tombs. No one dared to go near him, because he was so strong that he had broken any chains they tried to bind him with. This man was even afraid of himself. Jesus found him crying out and cutting himself with stones, trying to get rid of the evil that was inside of him. Strangely enough, this uncontrollable man ran up to Jesus and bowed down before him. Jesus began speaking directly with the demons, who were compelled to do whatever Jesus told them to do. He sent them into a herd of pigs. The pigs then proceeded to run over a steep bank and drown in the sea, demons and all.
This man was so relieved that he wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus told him to go back to his own home. The rest of the people from the city, however, were not happy, but afraid of Jesus! They were afraid of the possessed man because of the power of the demons inside him, and now they saw that Jesus had more power than the demons! They asked Jesus to leave, so he went back across the sea.
When he got across, a large crowd assembled around him. People had apparently heard about him and wanted to see if he could help them. One of these people was an official from the synagogue named Jairus. His daughter was very sick, and he wanted Jesus to heal her. Before they got to the house, word came that the daughter had died. Jesus, however, told him not to be afraid, but to believe. When they came to the house, he went to the girl and asked her to get up, which she did, perfectly well.
The third person was a sick woman who touched Jesus during his journey to Jairus' home. She didn't even speak, but touched the hem of his clothes. Immediately Jesus knew that something had happened, and he asked his disciples who had touched him. Now, remember, Jesus was in the middle of a huge crowd of people. People were touching people all over the place! But Jesus knew that this was no ordinary touch. This woman had such faith that she thought she could be healed if only she could touch him. The crazy thing is that it happened! in verse 34, Jesus says "Daughter, your faith has healed you."
What problems are you facing today? Are you fearful or faithful? We have something today that the people in these stories didn't have. They had to physically get to Jesus to have access to his power. But when Jesus died on the cross, he said "It is finished." (John 19:30). Isaiah 53:5 says that "By his wounds, we are healed." In John 16:33, Jesus tells his disciples: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We can have peace. We can have victory over fear. We just have to remember who we are.
You are an overcomer. A saint. The elect of God. Redeemed by Jesus. Seated in Heavenly places. A Son or Daughter of God. A member of the Royal Priesthood. You were created in the image of God! You are the light of the world, and darkness has no power over light. Light dispels darkness. Don't be afraid of the power of Jesus Christ. Have faith that his power is there for you!