Love and fear... revisited

Some new thoughts on an old theme...

Huw Williams | 13:38, Wednesday 15 May 2013 | Turin, Italy

I've written about love and fear before, but these two themes seem to keep re-emerging in my life and ministry so I am determined to explore them a bit further.

 no-one ... is neutral in terms of their response to Jesus

Take last Sunday's sermon for example; it struck me when studying Luke 8:26-39 how no-one in this account is neutral in terms of their response to Jesus. Everyone in this passage is moving in one direction or another in relation to him - they are either pulling back from Jesus in fear, or being drawn to him in love. The demonic powers possessing Legion repeatedly beg Jesus for mercy in their terror - a powerful indication that although this is a power contest, in reality it is no contest at all. Legion himself meets Jesus in a state of fear that he has come to torture him. Even the locals who come to investigate the day's events pull back from Jesus and ask him to leave, out of fear (v35, 37).

Only the man they once called Legion actually changes direction, the result of his meeting from Jesus is total transformation - the man who once cringed in terror at Jesus' feet and begged for mercy (v28), now sits in the same place in loving devotion (v35).

they are either drawn to Jesus or they want to push him away

Everyone in the passage is moving - they are either drawn to Jesus or they want to push him away, their heart responses are motivated by love or by fear. The challenge is obvious, yet deeply searching and requiring profound reflection. What is my heart response to the person of Jesus? Am I a Legion who may at one time have fallen back from him in fear and begged him not to harm me, but am now drawn to him in love and begging to stay close to him? Or am I one of the locals who look right over the beautiful, personal miracle of love which Jesus has done, and see only power, reasons to be scared and to push him away?

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