Sunday, March 9, 2014
BE STRONG AND PLAY THE MAN
Martyrdom for Christ's sake is nothing new nor is it something that we should be surprised about. Jesus clearly stated that just as the Father had sent Him, He was sending us. It was among wolves that we were being sent. Jesus said, "'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."
The following comes from an article written by Greg Laurie:
Polycarp, one of the first church fathers and the pastor of the church in Smyrna, was martyred on February 23 in A.D. 155. On that day, the public games were taking place, and the crowds were whipped into a real frenzy. Someone cried out, "Let Polycarp be searched for!"
The night before, Polycarp had a dream in which the pillow under his head was on fire. He woke up and told his fellow believers, "I must be burned alive." When Polycarp was arrested, he asked for the privilege of having a final hour to spend with the Lord in prayer.
As Polycarp entered the Roman arena, God spoke to his heart and said, "Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man." The Roman proconsul gave him the choice between cursing the name of Christ and making a sacrifice to Caesar, or dying. Polycarp said, "Eighty-six years I have served the Lord. He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?"
When the proconsul threatened him with being burned at the stake, Polycarp replied, "You threaten me with the fire that burns for a time and is quickly quenched, but you do not know the fire that awaits the wicked and the judgment to come into everlasting punishment. Why are you waiting? Come and do what you will."
My prayer is that if I were ever faced with martyrdom, I too would "play the man". My prayer for those 33 in North Korea is the same. May they too "play the man". Tertullian, a second century Christian author stated, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church". My prayer too is that the seed of the church be planted as a result of what those 33 will soon face.