Friday, January 14, 2011

The Early Church

Recently I did some reading about persecution in the early church and I can't get it out of my mind. Roughly 30 years after Jesus's resurrection the Romans were led by Caesar Nero. He wanted to stir up hatred for the Christians and see them executed in horrible ways. Christ followers were arrested, jailed, and then given an opportunity to either deny their Savior or die a painful death. Some were covered in fresh animal skins and released into an arena with wild animals. Some were coated in wax and set on fire, being taunted about being the "light of the world". The lucky ones were the Roman citizens who were granted a quick death such as a beheading. How many of the people who call themselves Christians today would choose this death rather than deny Christ? Would you or I? The courage and faith of these early Christians inspires me.

What also amazes me is how God used Nero's plan against him. Nero wanted to wipe the Christians out. Yet after time, witnessing person after person choose Jesus, the world began to take notice. Who is this Jesus that people would sacrifice their lives to honor? These sacrifices became witnesses to the truth and aided the spread of the gospel. What man intended for evil, God used for good.

When I think of those early martyrs, I can hear them answering their captors with the chorus of this song...

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