Religious Leaders On The Prowl
Pastor Sammy had permission for the open air meetings in a town north of Webuye. The crowd gathered. Sammy preached, and it wasn’t only church folks who showed up. Many unbelievers were intrigued and came to hear the Baptist preacher. The crowd went home excited, inviting their friends to the next meeting. The crowds would swell. Then the trouble began.
Someone complained to the town official about the loud preaching and worship. It was a disturbance. So the official who gave Sammy the license to preach said the meetings would end. Sammy went to the official, “But I have the license. You gave me permission. There’s freedom of religion in Kenya and that means we have the right to proclaim the Gospel freely in these meetings. Just because you received a complaint, you’re going to shut down the meeting? Why didn’t you talk to me face to face about the complaints?” The city official continued to insist that the meetings were over.
Pastor Sammy isn’t the first preacher facing opposition and attempts to shut down the ministry of the Word. In the first century, after Jesus finished eating with a group of Pharisees and legal experts, Luke shares how they all went outside, and the religious professionals tried to set the trap that would destroy Jesus’ influence.
“As Jesus left, the legal experts and Pharisees began with fierce hostility to interrogate Him about many things. They were lying in wait to snare Him by something out of His mouth.” Luke 11:53-54
And we think that media reporters can get vicious in their questioning of political candidates. Jesus faced far worse, and if you’ve ever thought about Good Friday, you know where the opposition to Jesus is going to lead, but you also know that Jesus rises from the dead and wins in the End. He’s alive and He powerfully worked in Pastor Sammy’s conflict.
As the official stood obstinately ending the meetings, he got a call. It was from the District Commissioner, a lot higher up on the pecking order. “What are you doing? I’ve got a crowd of people out here with clubs threatening to burn down the mosque if the preacher they heard at the first meeting is not allowed to preach. They’re telling me that they don’t go to church, but they want to hear what this man of God has to say.”
The meetings were on, and an old man up on the hill five kilometers away listened to the worship and the preaching. He listened again the second day, and the third day he went. That night he trusted in Jesus. Sammy told me that 308 received Christ during the week long revival. He had never seen God’s power unleashed like this before.
LORD, thank you not only for stopping any violence but enabling so many that week to freely come and hear your truth and opening the hearts of the 308. Spread this message of grace throughout Africa. That’s Pastor Sammy’s prayer and I join him.
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