My family and I love going to local events. Every year here in Saginaw, TX we have what is called “Taste of Northwest”. It is a vendor fair that hosts the local restaurants and businesses and is similar to a carnival. This year was a little less exciting but it is still good to eat dinner from all of the samples.
One particular booth was from a local church. I usually pay particular attention to the church ones to see how they evangelize or recruit for members. This one had a punching buddy (a punching bag that looks like a person) with a red cape around it and horns on his head. When a person would pass by they would say “Hey, take a shot at Satan!” “Punch him out!” Then they would give out some pamphlets about their church. I didn’t have any contact with them so I do not know if there was any evangelizing going on.
In today’s passage Jesus prayed to the Father and thanked Him for revealing who He was to the people. Then he says something like; “Come to me all who are tired and weary and I will give you rest.” Does this mean that after a hard days work that we go to Jesus and He will restore us? Well, He could but in this context Jesus is referring to those that have been battling the BONDAGE of Satan. You see many people think that they have to CLEAN UP THEIR life BEFORE making the decision to follow Jesus. But Jesus says in this passage that it is HE that can and will free us of the bondage and we can REST.
I do not believe that we have to battle Satan at all. Yes the Bible says that we have power over scorpions and snakes but the source of this power does not come from us. It comes from Jesus but I do not think it is actually us but rather Him working through us. Remember when the disciples came to Him and said that they had a hard time getting rid of a demon? What was Jesus’ reply? “This type can only be done with prayer and fasting.” Prayer and Fasting are the two acts that we can do to refocus our source of strength, God. So is teaching people to hit or battle Satan biblical? I do not think so. I believe that our job is to “GO” and “TELL” people about Jesus. The fight between Satan and God is handled by God. Although we can be used by God to do this it is not our mandate.
One day I received a call from a person whom I recognized. He was trying to pull a prank call on a random number and dialed mine coincidentally. “Is you refrigerator running?” he said. “Phillip? Why do want to know about my refrigerator?” I answered. “How do you know who this is? Who is this?” he answered with a puzzled voice. “You called me remember? How do not know who you called?”
Jesus had just left the house in which He healed the paralytic man and saw a man who was a tax-collector. He said two words to him. “FOLLOW ME.” That must have been enough because Scripture records that he got up and followed Him. We do not know the background story but we know that Jesus simply spoke a few words and Matthew obeyed. Jesus is then seen sitting with other tax collectors (likely Matthew’s friends) and other “sinners”. Tax-collectors have always received bad raps from people and it was no different in this day. They were considered “cheats”, “sinners”, “traitors”, and just plain dirt. They were the ones that collected money that was sent to the Empire as taxes. Often the collectors would take more than what the citizens were required to give. This is why they were not looked on with favor. While reclining and hanging out with these type people, Jesus was approached by the Pharisees. They pointed out that He was in the presence of these people and enjoying their company. This was done possibly to sway the disciples away by discrediting Jesus. But Jesus answered back: “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus was giving his disciples an example of evangelism and I would suspect that Jesus was evagelising the house. You see it is one thing for Christians to gather around and worship God and enjoy fellowship. It is another to actually GO OUT and “hang” around sinners and be the reflection of Christ. It is sinners that need the grace and MERCY of Jesus. Everywhere we turn we can find soemone who needs Jesus. Have we adeqately told them about Him? Homework for today; 1. First, do what Jesus said and find out what is meant by “I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE” from verse 13. You may have to dig a little into Scripture. 2. Next, find someone who doesn’t know Jesus and strike up a conversation with them and ask God to provide a way to turn the conversation into “spiritual” things. Then start by telling how you came to know the Lord. Yes your testimony.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of bringing Alex Aguilar to the saving knowledge of Christ. It was a wonderful experience as he was the first person that the Lord allowed me to share the Gospel with by myself. Tonight I saw him in the service with his mother and his two younger brothers. How good God is!!! I am too excited to write anything about it at this moment but I promise I’ll give details later. For now, I am asking that everyone please pray for Alex. Pray that God would put a hedge of protection around him so that satan could not discourage him. Pray that he would have inner strength. Praise God!!! Galatians 2:20 <