There’s a place in northern Israel where the Canaanites worshiped the god Baal (Judges 3:3). King Jeroboam of the northern kingdom of Israel set up an altar to Baal nearby. In time this whole region was known for pagan worship and Baal worship. Years later when the Greeks conquered the region they renamed the city Panias after the Greek god Pan. Pan, like Baal before it, was considered the fertility god, and likewise had worship that was associated with bloody sacrifice and all sorts of sexual deviancy.
Pan also was said to be able to strike terror into the hearts of people and groups of people causing uncontrollable fear and irrational behavior. It is from this attribute that we get our word panic. We also get our word pandemonium, (pan-demon-ium) and finally the word pandemic also comes from Pan.
There was a great cave with a deep cavern at the spot where the worship of Pan took place and where the temple was later built for worshiping Pan. Worshipers believed that the spirits would travel from the underworld, called Hades, through this cavern in the earth. They would throw their sacrifices down into the cavern where they believed Pan and other gods would receive their bloodied offerings. It was a demonic portal.
After the death of Herod the Great the Romans divided his kingdom between his three sons and Philip was placed over the region which included this area. Philip renamed the city Caesarea Philippi honoring Caesar and himself.
This is the spot where Jesus came with His disciples when He asked the question, “who do men say that I am?” They told Him what people were saying, and then He asked, “who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “you are the Christ” or the Messiah. Jesus said to him, “flesh and blood hasn’t revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven, and upon this rock, the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”
Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
I think that Jesus chose this spot strategically to reveal His true identity to His disciples and declare while at the actual gate of Hades that no gate of hell can prevail against Jesus building anything that He has come to build.
Who do you say that He is? Who is Jesus in your life and has He been allowed to build what He wishes in you? We find ourselves in situations where people panic, where there is pandemonium over buying and travel and gatherings, where there is a call of a pandemic. But Jesus is still Lord, those who have a revelation of who He is, including the protector, including the healer, including the Prince who is peace, have been given keys to His Kingdom and will not walk in fear, but will have the confidence to walk in faith.
Scripture says that we should not be anxious for anything but in everything with prayer in specific request should make our requests known unto God. Those who have confidence in the Lord Jesus, who is the Messiah, have no reason to fear.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Those who have faith have no reason (or excuse) to worry. Consideration, yes, wisdom also, but not worry. Trust and worry are antithetical to one another. Fear is a form of faith, a negative faith, and it brings similar results, but in the negative form. Fear and worry can be more contagious than a virus, but we can quarantine our soul through faith. Any crisis is an opportunity to show your strong faith. Don’t let Pan bring panic to your door, but rather let faith be your spiritual key to letting Jesus be your door to peace, power, and blessings. Who do you say that He is?