A passion to tell, even with a sword hanging over your head
I watched a Facebook film on how the disciples died.
- Peter was crucified upside down.
- Andrew and Philips were also crucified.
- Thomas and Matthew were stabbed with a spear.
- Luke was hanged.
- Mark died after being dragged by horses through the streets.
- John was boiled in oil but survived. He was the only disciple who died in peace.
- James was thrown from the temple walls but survived only to be clubbed to death.
- Bartholomew was tortured and whipped until he died.
- Matthew was stoned, crucified or beheaded.
- Paul’s head was brought to King Nero’s daughter on a platter.
To call those times brutal is to put it lightly! Everyone was tortured. All except John survived. While Andrew hung on the cross, he continued to proclaim the gospel for two more days. All of them were prepared to sacrifice everything, even their lives, for their calling.
Paul repeatedly describes this passion: 10We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters.
Paul knew it was not safe out there. He was in prison because he could not remain silent, but he still longed to be with his young Christian brothers and sisters. He had to go to them, because he wanted to equip them even more so that the enemy would not tempt them away. Nothing would stop him. Not even the sword over his head along the way.
What an example Paul is for us. Let’s be honest: Few of us are walking in these men’s shoes. Few of us have a passion for the faith of others or even that they lack faith. Sometimes we’re not even bothered what another man believes or don’t believe …
It’s so easy to get in our cars and drive to someone who needs us. It’s no trouble at all. Actually, there where we come into contact with people every day we have many opportunities to take someone by the hand and help to strengthen their faith.
I wonder what would have happened if these twelve men were too afraid to proclaim the Gospel. What would have happened if they weren’t prepared to die for their calling? Would God’s Kingdom have been as big today so that we can also share in it?
God, please give us the strength and courage not to be ashamed of the Gospel. May our descendants enjoy the fruit of our witness.
How big is your passion?
Are you prepared to give up everything?
Even your life?
Father, please give us the courage to encourage one another and to help one another become spiritually strong. Please help us to be worthy of what You called us to do. Amen.