“A Major Spiritual Lesson from Cinco de Mayo!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
It’s really a strange phenomenon here in the United States. There’s a holiday that celebrates another foreign country–more than it’s celebrated where the event occurred. I’m referring to Cinco de Mayo. Many would be surprised to know that the holiday doesn’t get as much attention in Mexico. I know. I lived in Mexico for many years, and I fully expected it to be a very big deal there. It really wasn’t. Nonetheless, allow me to unpack a major spiritual lesson from that historic event.
You’d think that it was the official Mexican Independence Day. It’s not. That day is actually celebrated on September 16th when the famous “grito” from the priest Miguel Hidalgo called for arms against Spain in 1810. However, Cinco de Mayo occurred 52 years later in 1862. And it really wasn’t a final battle for national independence either. Ironically, it remains the only military battle that all Mexicans can still look back at positively. Why? Almost all later battles–which led to their national sovereignty–were complicated due to being civil wars which aren’t usually celebrated.
By the late 19th century, most world powers had stretched themselves too thin in their quest for worldwide expansion. Mexico was one such territory that Spain, England, and France found not worth the effort to occupy. The natural resources that they sought to exploit weren’t there. However, France was the last world power to come to that conclusion. And that’s what preceded the incident on May 5th 1862 in Puebla Mexico.
Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza led about 2000 poorly-equipped rebels against roughly 5000 well-trained French soldiers. The battle itself lasted from daybreak until the early evening hours. Yet, the fighting was completely lop-sided. Five times as many French soldiers died in battle! The French would later leave the country in shameful retreat. But not at that time. You see, that Mexican victory was more symbolic than strategic. France did win some later skirmishes, however, they simply didn’t have the resources to continue. It would be their own domestic problems back in France that ultimately stopped them.
Folks, the history of Mexico is very complicated, and often very messy. It’s just like the life of every single person. Truth be told. But here’s a huge spiritual lesson from Cinco de Mayo: Freedom must be fought for. It will not be just handed to anybody. Why? The “god of this world” (2nd Corinthians 4:4) has enslaved humanity under the tyranny of sin and selfishness. And he will not retreat without a fight.
Tragically, the modern-day church has not properly alerted our culture to this cosmic battle. And the final results will be eternal! But here’s the Gospel: One much greater than General Zaragoza has led a massive, worldwide liberation against sin’s tyranny! His name is Jesus Christ. And those who join His forces have a guaranteed victory. Why? Well, just like the French emperor Napoleon III, Satan has no choice but to retreat. His empire is also collapsing. And that’s certainly something worth celebrating about!