When Dr. Julius Zant, a retired neurosurgeon-turned-pastor, led his congregants in a Bible study at his Maryland church last Thursday, he had no idea of the horror that was about to unfold. Without warning, as Zant studied the word of God with his flock, a man broke into the building and threatened to kill him if he did not hand over money and property.
“He has this black holster and it looked like it had a gun in it, and he’s demanding this and one of the ladies actually took out her phone and [p]ut it on the table,” Zant told ABC 47 of the robber who ordered him and his congregants to hand over their personal belongings.
Zant realized that something needed to be done. So, he called on his Lord to protect them. Instead of fighting back physically, he invoked the name of Jesus Christ.
“I stood up and said, ‘No, we’re not having this. We’re not doing this.’ And I walked around and walked up to him and said, ‘Leave in Jesus name,'” Zant recounted.
“I think that when I told him that we were here worshipping God, that he changed. His demeanor changed, and it was as if an awareness came to him that perhaps this wasn’t the right thing for him to do.”
Zant further explained: “He never pointed it (weapon) at my head but he touched my neck with the thing. He was saying he didn’t want to do it. And I’m saying, ‘Well then, don’t do it. You don’t have to do this.”
The pastor knew he just had to stand his ground and put himself between the criminal and his faithful church members.
“In this situation, it was a matter more-or-less of just standing in the gap. People were being threatened. And it was just a response to the situation,” he explained.
The church’s rector, Fr. Robert Laws told the Christian Post that his church staff is now set to meet with law enforcement in order to receive training on how to best protect themselves from any future threats.
“We are going to be meeting with the sheriff next Wednesday, [along] with other churches in the town who want to come. He’s gonna be talking about how to keep churches safe. He’s gonna offer a training for active shooters. At the moment we have already started locking the doors and having a guard at the door during mass and those kind of things,” Laws said.
“He (Dr. Zant) just mentioned that this tall masked man came in and demanded their cell phones. I think he demanded money and pointed to a holster that had some sort of weapon in it. He didn’t draw it out at the moment. Dr. Zant just told him no we’re not gonna give you any money.”
“He told him, ‘In the name of Jesus you need to leave,’ and I think it kind of startled the man. The man told Dr. Zant, ‘I don’t want to kill you,’ and Dr. Zant said, ‘well don’t,’ and the man fled at that point,” Laws further explained.
The rector detailed that the robber managed to escape with the cell phones of some people at the meeting. He is currently still on the run.
“No one recognizes him, no one knew who he was,” Laws added.
Despite the obvious trauma of such a harrowing event, Zant said the experience has inspired him in his faith. Indeed, he witnessed for himself the incredible found in the name of Jesus:
“The power of God is real. You know, the Lord is my Shepherd. He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemy. It is real. The power of God is real. The protection of God is real.”
(H/T: Christian Post)