In The Spotlight
Okay, this is my last blog for May. I hope you have enjoyed the previous “In The Spotlights”.
I thought I would go in a different direction this time. Last week, before I finished the blog on Sis. Elsie, I was looking at some history of the church on the web. If you know me at all, you know that I am interested in history. I just think the more you know about history the more you can understand why things are the way they are today. As I was cruising the net I came across the old book, “foxes Book of Martyrs”. I have no idea how or why I came across this particular book. I have this book in my collection and I have never actually “Read” it. I love to read but a book like this one would be kind of hard to decipher because it was written so long ago and in a way that is hard to understand. It’s really just for study purposes.
Anyway, I really just read the first chapter and it listed all the ways in which it is believed the Apostles were persecuted and died. I thought I would list them here to give us an idea of what they REALLY went through according to this book. No, this isn’t the Bible but it is a book that has been around for centuries and can give us additional information on what may have happened to the Apostles after the accounts in the Bible.
1. Stephen – we all know he was stoned to death. (Acts 7: 54-60)
2. James the Great – also known as James the son of Zebedee, the elder brother of John – Beheaded around AD 44. According to the book this took place 10 years after Stephen’s death.
3. Philip – scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified. AD 54.
4. Matthew – slain with a halberd (whatever that is, a club maybe?) in the city of Nadabah, AD 60
5. James the Less – author of the epistle ascribed to James. At the age of 94 he was beat and stoned by the Jews, and finally was killed with a club.
6. Matthias – took Judas’ place. He was stoned at Jerusalem and beheaded.
7. Andrew – crucified
8. Mark – dragged to death
9. Peter – crucified and it is believed he was crucified upside down because he said he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus.
10. Paul – beheaded
11. Jude – crucified at Edessa, AD 72
12. Bartholomew – beaten and then crucified
13. Thomas - thrust through with a spear
14. Luke – traveled with Paul, - supposed to have been hanged by an olive tree in Greece
15. Simon – crucified AD 74
16. John – The “beloved disciple”. Brother to James the Great. Was put into a cauldron of boiling oil but escaped by miracle, without injury. He was eventually exiled to the Isle of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelations. He is the only Apostle to escape a violent death.
This is all very depressing, I know, to repeat all of this here but when I read about all of this it really hit me. Hey, we have not been through anything like what they went through! And I thank God we have not! I am so glad we live in this day.
We are so BLESSED to be living in this century! But, on the other hand, what does the future hold for us? I feel a lot like Sis. Kim. The world is changing and there is a movement or spirit, whatever you want to call it, that is trying to topple the Church. We are warned about this in the Bible, too. (II Thessalonians 2:3) People are being deceived into believing a lie and are leaving the faith. But, guess what, there are a lot of people coming into the truth, too! Our church is seeing a great revival so I’m encouraged, not depressed!
When I thought about what the apostles went through the first question that came to my mind was, “Would I have the courage to stand in times like those?” What is coming on our world and are we prepared for it? No one knows what is on the horizon. We just know that Jesus is coming soon! Like Bro. Duvall preached on Wednesday about trials..yes, we’re going to have trials in this life. Jesus never said it would be easy. But we have to think about what He did on that cross! That is an awesome thought. Without His sacrifice and His resurrection we would have no hope. That’s what drove the apostles and what kept them and made them strong. I’m sure they were afraid. They were human but in the end, when it mattered, they never lost their faith. We have all gone “through the fire”, so to speak and we have all come out of each of them stronger than before. We are all leaning on Him. There is a song that I just love and it talks about going through the fire.
He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
and the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting but He said
Help would always come in time.
So just remember when your standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says Give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And He will take you through the fire again!
So, what I’m trying to say is, we have a great heritage and we are truly blessed by God!
We can look back and see where history played a part and led up to today’s time. We can also see Jesus’ handy work in all of it. After all, if the persecution had not taken place the Gospel would have only remained in Jerusalem, right? God’s hand is always at work in this world. What courage the apostles showed in their day. I pray and I know that we have the same courage because we have the same Holy Ghost living inside of us.
I hope I haven’t totally depressed all of you now. Just wanted to give us all something to think about. I hope you have enjoyed the “in the spotlights” this month. I hope I have given you new information about different ladies in the church and also given you some of my own insights. Scary, I know….:) I really hope this last blog makes sense, too. I’m not sure if I accurately conveyed what I was trying to say.
Love you all, until next time,