As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. (Acts 8:3-4 KJV)
Do you remember sometime last year when a certain movie depicting Jesus as a homosexual was featured on Netflix? Oh, do you remember how many of us came out unhinged and wanted to scatter things, and protest as if Jesus has been dealt a major blow. Oh, if only our eyes were opened to the Lord of Glory, you would have seen him laughing at the foolishness of men, and shaking his head at their stupidity. It is very strange to see man who wants to stop what he did not start, or that wants to confront what is bigger than him. Two men lived, in the Bible days, who attempted to confront the Church of Jesus, and they were arrested by the Gospel of Jesus without much waste of time. It is necessary today, as it was that day that men realize that the Gospel of Jesus is something which is greater than witchcraft and mightier than the sword.
After Stephen’s lengthy defense, he was stoned to death by the very men that listened to him. While he was dying, he prayed that God would not hold the sin of murder to the charge of those that were stoning him. It may be that the Lord heard that prayer, for part of those who stood by and gave consent to his death was a man called Saul who we would meet in later chapters and on whom the book of Acts of the Apostles was concentrated. After Stephen’s death, Saul (a student of Gamaliel) wielded the sword against the Church, and that led to the scattering of the gathering in Jerusalem. He must have exulted at his victory in scattering the Jerusalem congregation, but little did he know that he was dealing with something (or Someone) that was mightier than the sword.
The sword could not stop the church of Jesus. Rather, the church only grew and increased. As each member was scattered out of Jerusalem, they spread the Gospel of Jesus wherever they went. Hence, that which was meant to destroy the church only served to spread the Gospel of Jesus faster to the ends of the earth. The persecution woke up a sleeping church and empowered them to take over the nations of the earth for Christ.
One of those who scattered was Philip. This was not Philip the Apostle, but Philip who was one of the deacons alongside Stephen. Though, a member of the Kitchen department of the early Church, his exploits in the city of Samaria were so great that he was noted in the Acts of the Apostles. He worked in the miraculous and did exploits for God. He never excused himself from the great power of God; neither did he give a reason why he should not walk in the miraculous as men do today.
One of the things he had to face was a certain man called Simon, who through witchcraft held a whole city in captivity. The people held him in high honour and fear as “the great power of God”; and he was greatly revered and feared by men. The Bible never recorded any direct conflict between him and Philip. Philip just arrived in Samaria and began to preach the Gospel. The preaching of the Gospel of Jesus and the accompanying signs and wonders broke the strong hold of Simon on the Samaritans and made them to turn unto the Lord. Not only did the people repent, but even Simon, the Sorcerer also repented, because he greatly marveled at the wonder-working power of God.
The church of Jesus is not a weak entity. We may not be using swords and earthly weapons, but we are a force deadlier than an inter-continental ballistic missile. Our power and force is in the one who is with us, and our faith in Him. Times without number, people have tried to attack and stop the church of Jesus by the force of the sword. They have never succeeded, and never will. The church of Jesus moves like a mighty army. Like it marched then, it marches now. The bearer of the Sword cannot stop us, neither can the witch or wizard. We have within us He who is greater than the devil.
It is a tragedy to see how we easily shudder at the sight of the sword or at the sight of a man with occult powers. In fact, now men believe in the power of Satan more than the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Men now fear wizards more than the fear God’s people. Yet, the real people of terror (those to be feared) are the children of the King of kings
AND SO? As Christians in the society, it is not our assignment to fight people or to try to put society back in good shape by our own power. When we try, we see ourselves woefully defeated. But if we take up the Gospel of Jesus, and faithfully proclaim it to our world, we are confronting the world with something greater than witchcraft, and mightier than the sword. So, as we stay worded, it is important that we realize that every day we take in God’s word; we are being empowered to confront our society with all its darkness and troubles. No matter the weapons they throw at us (be they spiritual or physical), they cannot stop what God is doing. It will continue till the end of time.