Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Perception of Fear

I spoke on a passage of scripture I've never heard spoken on before: one that had to do with Jesus casting out a demon ... demons, actually. Out of the fellow commonly referred to as 'Legion'. Though in the passage we get the perception it's the many demons speaking through the man, not the man himself.

Anyway, this passage is found in Mark 5:1 - 20 (and versions of it in the books of Matthew and Luke) in the good old Bible. One of the many things that I found rather surprising was the response the demons have to Jesus just prior to their expulsion from the man. First off, it's important to know that they are very afraid. Very afraid. This is their response to Jesus when they see him: "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" Shouting at the top of his voice. "Swear to God ..." Uh ... isn't Jesus God? "... that you won't torture me! ... And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area." It's interesting to note that the demons are anticipating torture. Now, let me ask you a question. Is the God you know (if you know Him) a God who tortures others? Is he known for his torturing techniques ... His sweet revenge? Does He take delight in bringing pain intentionally on others? Does He like to torture someone?

Now, you might be thinking to yourself: 'well ... no, but hey, these are demons! They deserve it and God's o.k. with torturing demons'. Does he? First of all it's not God, but Jesus who is being expected to torture here. Does Jesus torture anyone while on earth that you know of??

What I find most interesting is that we see the demons expecting torture. I do not know Jesus as a God who tortures anyone. He grants what we request or He doesn't. But He's loving and just. He even grants the demons a compromise and lets them jump into some pigs. Why doesn't Jesus just get 'em right there!! He's got them by the short and curlies! But he lets them beg and allows them their compromise. Interesting. And I find it interesting that the demons really do not know or understand the nature of Jesus. And therefore God. They don't know him. They expect punishment. They think that Jesus treats others they way they treat others - with pain and torture (it's what they had been doing to the man they inhabited). Which is true of people as well. We usually expect to get some serious punishment because we know when we deserve something nasty. But God is NOT a God who treats us as our sins deserve. Satan does NOT understand this. He does NOT get it. He does not know or understand God's character. He is a control freak and cannot see or know any other character except the character through which he operates, which is usually also how we operate. This is what fear does to people. It removes our understanding of God's true character and nature. And yet 'There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.' 1 John 4 somewhere.

Fear is a destroyer of truth.