Thursday, March 31, 2011

Martyrdom of Probius

Probius was martyred for his faith during the reign of Emperor Maximian in the Roman Empire around 250 A.D. He was whipped until blowed flowed out of him, and then we was thrown in prison chained to an area. Just a few days later, he was brought out of the cell because he was commanded to sacrifice to the Roman gods. He knew the price he would pay if he refused: he'd be tortured and killed. He said this:

"I come better prepared than before, for what I have suffered has only strengthened me in my resolution. Employ your whole power upon me, and you shall find that neither you, nor the Emperor, nor the gods you serve, nor even your father the devil, shall compel me to worship idols."

Probius paid the expected price. He was sent back to get tortured some more and eventually died by the sword.

Rest In Peace, Probius

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Martyrdom of Rachel Scott

As many of us know, the Columbine High School Massacre in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999 was the deadliest shooting in an American high school. The two perpetrators were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and together they murdered 13 and injured 24.

This post honors Rachel Scott, the first victim of the massacre, and her faith. Rachel was described as a devout Christian by her mother, she was active as a youth group leader, and was known for her friendliness and compassion. Rachel left behind six diaries and several essays about her belief in God and how she wanted to change the world through small acts of kindness. Rachel wrote an essay for school in which was included, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” May the discipleship of Rachel Scott be remembered.

She was the first victim in the massacre that took place. She was eating lunch with a friend when she was killed due to shots fired at her head, torso, and leg. Early reports said that one of the gunmen, after having first shot Rachel in her leg, asked her if she still believed in God, and that she had simply answered "You know I do". Her response provoked a second, fatal shot to her head. The FBI later concluded that this verbal exchange did not take place. However, it is quite clear that Rachel Scott died as a martyr for being Christian, even if the verbal exchange didn't take place. This conclusion is based on videotapes made by the murderers in which they are said to mock Rachel for her beliefs.

Rest In Peace, Rachel Scott.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Martyrdom of James, the son of Zebedee

The martyrdom of James was recorded in Acts 12:2. He was the first of the twelve apostles to be martyred. His death was an order by King Harrod Agrippa I of Judea. Jesus's prophecy of James' death for Christ was in Mark 10:35-45. Clemens Alexandrinus wrote that when James was being lead to his execution, his incredible courage caused one of his captors to actually fall on his knees before James, asked for his forgiveness, and admitted that he himself was a Christian too. The man actually had the courage to say that James should not die alone, so they were both beheaded.

Around this time, the deacons Timon and Parmenas were executed in another location. All executions were performed in the year A.D. 44

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stephen the Martyr

The first person to die for Christ was Stephen, whose name means “crown”. Chapters 6 and 7 in the book of Acts record this man’s story of persecution, around A.D. 35. This was not too long after the Apostle Peter gave his famous sermon on the day of Pentecost, the day the church officially started. One day Stephen, the great evangelist, was performing incredible wonders and signs in view of many people. Men from the synagogue were unable to cope with the great wisdom coming from Stephen’s words, so they exclaimed that Stephen spoke blasphemous words against God and the words of Moses. The men dragged Stephen away and brought him before the Council to testify for his actions and words.

He spoke about the privileges of the nation of Israel, as well as their rejection of God’s messengers. Then, in his boldness, he blamed the listeners for the crucifixion of Jesus. Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just what your fathers did.” The next verses described the fury of the people who were listening. Suddenly, Stephen, being full of grace, gazed in Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus at God’s right hand. Stephen described with such joy what he was seeing. This crossed the line for the hard-hearted listeners, and in a loud voice, they cried out and rushed at him.

As was the custom in their day when it came to stoning, one person pushed the victim off a 9 foot scaffold, and then another person dropped a large stone on the victim. Usually others would pelt the victim with small stones at the same time as well. Stephen, being filled with the unlimited love of Christ, cried out “Lord, receive my Spirit! Do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he died a martyr, and his act of sincere love toward Christ is still being shown today.