Panic And The Greek God Pan

I read something the other day from Jonathan Storment on the subject of panic that captured my attention. Here’s a brief snapshot of what he wrote…

“Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.” —Banksy

John Ortberg once asked the great theologian Dallas Willard what one word was that he would use to describe Jesus, and he gave a word that I thought was surprising.

Willard said “relaxed”

What an interesting way to think about Jesus.

In Jesus’ day, there was a Greek god named Pan, who was worshipped in certain places – even in Israel (just a few days walk away from where Jesus did most of his ministry). One day Jesus took his disciples down to the very area where people worshipped Pan to teach them about the Kingdom of God.

He told them that the kind of movement that He was starting was not going to withdraw from these types of places but rather go right into them.

Pan was a half-goat/half-man god, and the place where he was worshipped (Caesarea Philippi) was cave they thought was bottomless; they considered it a Gate to the underworld.

The reason people worshipped Pan was because they were terrified of him. They were always worried that Pan might come out and “get you” at any time… and this is where we get the word panic from.

So Jesus marches to this place and says, I’m going to start a movement of people that are different than this, but they are going to be among places like this.

Jesus says things like “don’t worry about tomorrow” and calls our attention to the way God cares for the flowers. Jesus repeatedly tells us in a variety of ways that to follow him is a light burden.

Which raises the question, who am I being influenced by?

Jesus… or Pan.


Go to Jonathan’s full post HERE.


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

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