FROM PASTOR'S DESK 2022 Pastor's Desk

Very sad but not strange | J.O. Lawal


Beloved: grace, mercy and peace be yours from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. Welcome to another week of the month of May 2022. I pray that you and all that is yours will always be kept safe from all the evil expectations and activities of the enemies of the Christian faith, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Recently, there was a great outrage all over the country against the brutal killing of Deborah Yakubu Samuel, a student of a college of Education in Sokoto State. And while this act is very sad and highly condemnable, we must understand that it is neither new nor strange to the world. Similar acts have happened before and are still happening in different parts of the world today, especially in places where people think it is their job to fight for God or defend His honour.

Do you know that even under the leadership of the Holy Roman Catholic Church priests, centuries ago, many good and righteous people were wrongly stoned to death, beheaded or burnt at the stake for blasphemy or heresy? So, if the church is no longer killing her own members, it is not because she has never done so before; rather, it is because the Spirit of God has cleansed her of her ignorance and set her right.

Then we must also not forget why our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was cruelly murdered by the religious leaders of the Jews of His earthly days. It was because of blasphemy. Those Jews, as we see in the bible, had zero tolerance for blasphemy. So, when Jesus began to refer to Himself as the Son of God, they equated that to blasphemy and began to call for His head. But their leaders did not just pick Him from the street and kill Him, as a mob would do. Instead, they arrested Him, got people to testify against Him and then condemned Him to death.

Why did they not kill Jesus for blasphemy the very moment they had Him arrested? First, it was because they knew that there were many people in the land that believed that He was a true man of God. So, unless it could be proved that He had done something sacrilegious, like saying something blasphemous against God, they could not lay their hands on Him and not meet with the anger of the people. And even at that, it was against the Law of Moses to kill a man like that without a proper trial. You must first bring at least two people to testify against him. Then you must allow him to also speak for himself. Otherwise, you will be shedding innocent blood before God by killing him. And that was exactly what they did with Jesus before condemning Him to death. (Cf. Deut 17:2-7; Matt 26:57-66)

The second reason they did not immediately kill Jesus was that there was a higher law in the land at the time, the Law of the Romans. And there was no way they would kill a popular person like Him, even if the person was guilty as they may have alleged, without first trying him according to that law and not get into trouble, if their Roman overlords should decide to look into the matter. That why Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate, so that he may ratify the death sentence they had already passed on Him. And He would have been set free, if Pilate had not been a weak and fickle leader. (Cf. John 18:26-19:16)

So, it is not a new thing for righteous people to be unjustly killed under the guise of religion. And such things usually happen where leaders are weak like Pilate and love the praise of men more than the praise of God. Even Paul, for example, on one occasion, would have been lynched by a Jewish mob because of things like this, if the Roman army general stationed at Jerusalem at the time had been weak or slow to intervene. (Cf. Acts 21:17-23:35)

What is my point in all this? It is that while we ask for justice for Deborah Yakubu Samuel and also pray that God will comfort her family, we must not fail, as children of God, to learn from what happened to her. And what are the lessons for us in that matter? The first is that we must always be careful in relating to people of other religions, especially those who are hostile to the Christian faith, so that they will never have any legitimate reason to slander or condemn us.

The second lesson for us in the matter is that wherever the leadership of our place of residence is weak or unjust, God may not be able to use it to protect us from wickedness. So, unless we are sure that God wants to use our suffering or death there to glorify Himself, we should mind how we attend to religious issues in such a place. Otherwise, we may end up sleeping in Christ before our time. And may the God of all grace continue to keep all His children in this country and all over the world safe from every kind of evil. Amen.

Do have a great week.

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