I’ll be honest, I have been all over the map with this. In the beginning, it just didn’t compute at any level. My initial response to such matters is to defer to the officers involved and wait for all the facts to come in. In this case, it went from bad to worse. There simply aren’t words for this. Someone I am close to was calling it murder. I chastised her for that because I thought certainly other facts would come to light that would explain the behaviors of the officers involved. She took the time to show me more than I was prepared to see and I am grateful for that. She was right. I was wrong. It was murder. As for the words, I think I found some. They are taken from the pages of ancient history. A friend introduced me to this story. When I first read it, something clicked on the inside of me and it has served as inspiration for this post.
Telemachus is a man you have probably never heard of. He is not to be confused with the Telemachus character found in the writings of Homer. That Telemachus was a fictional character. This Telemachus was a man of god who died a martyr’s death in about 404 AD. His story has been collecting dust in the history books, but it is perfectly relevant for the days we live in, and especially relevant to this particularly heinous incident. I’ll give you the “CliffsNotes” version of what happened and at the end of the post I’ll give you a link or two for a more detailed look at this.
Telemachus lived in Asia minor where he found Christ and became a monk. Around 402 AD, he felt the call of God to leave Asia minor and head for Rome. In 404 AD, he made his way to the coliseum where he would ultimately fulfill his mission and give his life to save others. It was at this coliseum where he saw the brutal Roman savagery on full display. He witnessed the gladiators line up before their emperor, raise their swords and say “We, who are about to die, salute you.” As the games proceeded, he witnessed the bloodlust of the crowd as they chanted for the death of the combatants. Telemachus was appalled and started yelling for it to stop in the name of Jesus. Nobody could hear him. So, he made his way forward demanding that it stop in the name of Jesus. He hopped the fence and ran onto the field and stood between two combatants and demanded they stop in the name of Jesus. It is said that for a moment at least, the coliseum fell silent and Telemachus demanded that the games be stopped in the name of Jesus. The crowd started throwing things and one of the gladiators killed Telemachus thinking he would receive cheers from the crowd. Instead, the crowd became silent as many turned and left. One ancient historian says the crowd stoned him to death. This doesn’t seem plausible as the crowds would have needed to bring stones with them or they were tearing the coliseum itself apart for the necessary stones. Even if they had the stones, it would require incredible arm strength to hurl large rocks from the stands all the way to the field. For these reasons, while there is no doubt that the crowd threw objects in the hope of hitting Telemachus, his death was far more likely at the hands of a gladiator. Regardless of how he died exactly, this incident marked the end of the circus games at the coliseum. Within hours of this incident, the emperor issued an edict forbidding any future games of war throughout the Roman empire. One man’s courage and faith changed the world he had lived in forever. Christians no longer lived in fear of being fed to lions and bears at the coliseum. Gladiators woke up in the morning and they knew there would be a tomorrow for them after all. The world had changed… forever.
So what does this have to do with the George Floyd incident? Plenty. As the church, we who are in Christ need to use our God given authority and demand that this spirit of racism be purged from our land. In other words, this is our Telemachus moment. We must be appalled. We must be obedient and we must do. It wasn’t enough that Telemachus was a Christian. The coliseum had seen plenty of Christians and their blood was all over the floor of Rome’s coliseum. Telemachus didn’t go there hoping to introduce a Christian alternative to Rome’s games. He went there to end them, period. I’m sure that all of the Christians whose blood stained the floor also wanted those games to end. So what makes Telemachus’s stand different? Was it his death? Plenty of Christians died in the same spot and nothing ever changed. What was different? Here’s what was different. For one, he was called to go there and was therefore anointed. Secondly, he went in the name of Jesus. He knew by what authority he spoke and those words: “Stop in the name of Jesus” carried authority. Even after he was murdered, his words were still reverberating throughout the land and affected a change.
Some of you may feel called to do something publicly with peaceful demonstrations, etc. All of us though, can pray over our country. In fact, I think every church in America should be praying over this situation. This spirit of racism must go from our land. In addition, we must remove the spirit of fear and the political spirit that is attempting to completely divide us as a nation. Lastly, we must also drive out the spirit of witchcraft from our government and media. Anytime there is manipulation and control, there is witchcraft involved. As Telemachus did in the days of old, we must do today. We must stand in the gap and declare that all of these must go in the name of Jesus. Remember, we are not fighting against people.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Our problem isn’t the people. It is the spiritual forces that are driving the people that is the true enemy. In a moment, I am going to ask that you join with me in prayer over our nation. But, before we do that it is important that we do a little self examination first. This is important because Jesus said the following in Matthew 7:3-5:
Matt 7:3 And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother’s eye.
If we can see clearly to cast the splinter out of our brother’s eye, then we will be in faith when we pray instead of sitting in judgment against them. But in order to get there, we have to get the beam out of our own eyes first. So please take a moment to do a little self examination and think about the following:
Is there racism in your own life? Are there good, moral people of color that you avoid simply because of the color of their skin? For those who make hiring decisions for your company, do you hire people of color? What about your church or small group? Are there people of color involved there? If not, why is that? If so, do you avoid these people?
These are difficult questions and I am asking in order to get you to take a look internally. Sometimes these things are so deeply embedded in our thinking that it’s difficult to see. Take a moment to pray and ask God to reveal anywhere in your own life where you have fallen prey to the evil of racism. I have had to deal with this in my own life and it is without question, the hardest thing I have had to deal with. The answer though, isn’t to hide it. The answer for this sin (as all other sin) is to bring it into the light, confess your sin and repent of it. Take a moment to deal with that now. Thank you for doing this.
Please join me in prayer over our nation:
Father, in the name of Jesus I come before you and ask that you heal our land. Racism, hatred, witchcraft and the political spirit have divided our nation. Many of our cities are in ruins and lives have been lost and others destroyed. The blood of many who were innocent is crying out to you from the ground. Father, you have said “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Therefore Father, I renounce racism in all of its forms from my own life. I renounce the hatred towards others simply because of the color of their skin or because they see things differently from me. I renounce those occasions where I have tried to control others with fear, shame or guilt and I repent of this form of witchcraft. I repent and renounce where I have engaged the political spirit and chose to win political arguments over the demonstration of God’s love for others. Father, you have also said “You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you;
So light will shine on your ways.” Therefore, I declare in the name of Jesus that this spirit of racism that is at work in our country must go. I also declare in the name of Jesus that the political spirit and the spirits of hatred, fear and witchcraft must all go from our land. In the name of Jesus, I am speaking to all of these spirits that are operating across our land, in our government and in our media and I command you all to go in the name of Jesus. You must cease and desist from your activities right now and you must leave our land in the name of Jesus. Father, I thank you that this is done and let the healing begin. First in me and then throughout our land in Jesus’ name.
Until next time, may God’s richest blessings be yours is Christ Jesus.
Copyright (c) 2020 M. Unruh
Here are those links I promised you. Enjoy!