These days criticism and antagonism against anything to do with the Bible is fairly common in our technologically, relatively wealthy Western society. What influences people who interrupt and shout down speakers, criticise Scripture and harass followers of Jesus? Let’s look at what Jesus said in two such situations.
# Jesus discerned that a spirit spoke through the man.
- When a man in the synagogue interrupted Jesus, He, led by the Spirit, discerned who the voice belonged to. “‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’” 1
- When Peter rebuked Him, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’” 2
- In both cases Jesus focused on the demon instead of on the man. It is because our struggle is not against flesh and blood (people). Scripture tells us, ‘Our struggle is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ 3
# What does Jesus’ example teach us?
- Jesus equipped us to engage in this struggle, ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy, and nothing will harm you.’ 4
- We have the authority to engage the spirit, not the person. We cannot go wrong if we follow our Lord’s example in Scripture.
# Let’s use the Sword of the Word.
- Ephesians 6:17 tells us to, ‘Take …the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.’
- God says in Isaiah 55:11, ‘…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire – and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’ God promises that His words in Scripture, if proclaimed by believers, will be effective.
- He says, ‘…I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.’ 5
We never need belittle and scorn people who fight against the Word of God. With the help of the Holy Spirit, identify and address the spirit behind the person(s).
- Mark 1:25
- Matthew 16:22-23
- Ephesians 6:12
- Luke 10:19
- Jeremiah 1:12b