"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10
Throughout the ages, martyrs have been thrown to the lions, boiled in caldrons by pagan tribes, or imprisoned in totalitarian nations for worshiping Christ. The death of Jesus Christ for our sin and His resurrection to life again has given Christians the courage to suffer all, knowing that for those in Christ, death is but the door to eternal life.
The word "martyr" comes from the same Greek word as "witness." In New Testament times, a witness to Christ stood a good chance of becoming a martyr. Today, too, even though our society officially guarantees freedom of worship, Christians increasingly face persecution. There are many subtle and overt pressures to deny Christ.
Our role is to imitate the saints and martyrs who have gone before us. We witness to the truth of Jesus Christ, who alone can save us from our sins and grant eternal life.
Christians always face opposition from the world (unless they compromise their faith) because they are not of this world. The world takes out its anger at God on those who represent Jesus. But despite insults, hatred, and rejection, Christ promises that the kingdom of heaven is ours.
PRAYER: O Lord, may we be faithful Christian witnesses until death, knowing that the kingdom is ours by your promise; for the sake of Your Son, our Lord Jesus. Amen.
(Devotions from "The Abundant Life" copyright 1998, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time e-mailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)