This morning (22 July 2019) when I went to get the newspaper in a shop in Diamond Point, Secunderabad, I witnessed a march by school students in memory of the Kargil Martyrs. They walked shouting slogans of respect for the Kargil Martyrs.
The Bible is clear when it calls believers to die for Christ if there is a need to do so. None of us will enjoy dying. But none of us should be scarred of dying for Christ’s sake.
Jesus’ call for martyrdom comes from John 12:24 – Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:23 records that these were the words of Jesus.
Apostle Paul, the person who kept saying we must follow Christ as he followed Christ using various phrases atleast five different times in the New Testament as he was inspired by the Spirit to do so was willing to die for Christ. We read these his brave words in Acts 21:13 – “Then Paul answered (a group of five prophets who prophesied that he should not go to Jerusalem and preach about Jesus because that would land him in great danger), “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
The writer to the Hebrews in the Bible was complaining that there weren’t enough brave people in the church he wrote to who chose Martyrdom when he wrote, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb. 12:4).
My favorite Christian Martyr is Polycarp. His martyrdom was the first prominent one after the completion of the New Testament. I recommend that you watch the 2015 Movie Polycarp – you, your family, your church. I watched it with my family and a small group I taught God’s Word to. I stopped at strategic points in his life to draw spiritual lessons during that movie.
Here is the gripping report of the martyrdom of Polycarp by Christianity Today website:
‘Polycarp had been a Christian since he was a child, but the Romans didn’t get around to killing him until he was in his eighties. Whatever the reason for the delay, it is still the first recorded martyrdom in post-New Testament church history. Such traits are especially evident in the account of his martyrdom, which was written within a year of his death. It is not clear exactly why he was suddenly, at age 86, subject to arrest, but when he heard Roman officials were intent on arresting him, he decided to wait for them at home. Panic-stricken friends pleaded with him to flee, so to calm them, he finally agreed to withdraw to a small estate outside of town. But while in prayer there, he received some sort of vision. Whatever he saw or heard, we don’t know. He simply reported to his friends that he now understood, “I must be burned alive.” Roman soldiers eventually discovered Polycarp’s whereabouts and came to his door. When his friends urged him to run, Polycarp replied, “God’s will be done,” and he let the soldiers in.’
‘He was escorted to the local proconsul, Statius Quadratus, who interrogated him in front of a crowd of curious onlookers. Polycarp seemed unfazed by the interrogation; he carried on a witty dialogue with Quadratus until Quadratus lost his temper and threatened Polycarp: he’d be thrown to wild beasts, he’d be burned at the stake, and so on. Polycarp just told Quadratus that while the proconsul’s fire lasts but a little while, the fires of judgment (“reserved for the ungodly,” he slyly added) cannot be quenched. Polycarp concluded, “But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.”’
‘Soldiers then grabbed him to nail him to a stake, but Polycarp stopped them: “Leave me as I am. For he who grants me to endure the fire will enable me also to remain on the pyre unmoved, without the security you desire from nails.” He prayed aloud, the fire was lit, and his flesh was consumed. The chronicler of this martyrdom said it was “not as burning flesh but as bread baking or as gold and silver refined in a furnace.”’
‘The account concluded by saying that Polycarp’s death was remembered by “everyone”—”he is even spoken of by the heathen in every place.”’
Should there be a rule in our land that we should not worship Christ or follow him or share his love, what would you do?
Would we respond like Peter and the apostles did in a similar situation: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) – would we boldly say that to those who persecute us?
“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” – that’s what the persecuted apostles did (Acts 5:41-42). And would we make Acts 5:41-42 a reality in our lives in case there is persecution in our world?
One small way we as a ministry show that we are not afraid of persecution is by distributing tracts. We still choose a spot and give tracts in that spot once a month. My joy knows no bounds whenever a new team member would say: “This is the first time I giving a gospel tract!” I tell myself, “Even if I were to die and be with Jesus, this wave of fearless witnessing will continue till the return of Christ!”
Mobile companies are preparing the world to be 5G super-fast internet speed-ready world where your 5G enabled phones can be folded! They are preparing mobile handsets that will be 5G ready. Huawei Mate X – a phone that can be folded – is one such phone. As believers, I write this article with a passion to see martyrdom-ready believers.
(Duke Jeyaraj is a trained Agricultural Engineer [B. Tech from SHIATS, Allahabad], who did not pursue a career in the line of his education but nevertheless enjoys growing cacti in the balcony of his flat, during his spare time! He could have been a cricket commentator but prefers to wrap Bible Truth around cricket magic moments and other interesting-to-Google Genners contemporary events, instead. God’s call upon him made him utterly restless and he obeyed that call by founding the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission to finally find serenity after having served formerly as a pastor with a large denomination/missionary with a large organisation/employee of HSBC Global Resourcing. G4 Mission is not a church but an inter-denominational ministry to present-day people, a ministry which Duke works fulltime for, as an itinerant presenter/preacher/author since 2008 putting to use the formal theological training he received from a reputed Bible College in Bangalore [M. Div & Doctor of Ministry from CGLD-SABC]. Duke is called ‘dad’ by Dale (15) and Datasha (11) and ‘hubby’ by Evangelin and calls Hyderabad his adopted home – a town from where Duke has travelled by invitation to over 15 Indian States and to a few countries to preach God’s Word. In case your curiosity is triggered by reading all this, you may checkout http://www.dukewords.com [if you are the reading plain text type], http://www.soundcloud.com/shoutaloud [if you are part of the audio-listening tribe] and http://www.youtube.com/visitduke [if you group yourself with the video-steaming generation]. G4 Mission is a listener/reader/viewer supported Indian ministry.)