And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes”. Revelation 7:15-17
History speaks of the time when Christians stood firm in the face of severe persecution. For the first three centuries after the resurrection of Jesus these Christians stood firm for Jesus and as a result they not only glorified the Lord and Saviour by honouring his name but they also transformed the world we live in today.
Their persecution began with some foreboding signs, then sustained hostility until eventually there was sustained fierce and bloody cruelty. It was a war of extermination which was to end only when the Emperor Constantine had a remarkable change of heart in 313 AD.
Unfortunately for those bent on eradicating Christianity, it had already taken root in a fairly wide area. But then nine waves of persecution followed, each as brutal as can be imagined. The Christians were harassed and hammered but they stood their ground. They stayed true to Jesus for their own sake, and for ours. And the shock result is that the Christians won over the lions.
Perhaps by comparison what we are up against seems like pussy cats. But beware, their little claws can be sharp and poisonous.
Prayer: Lord we thank you for those who did not love their lives so much they shrank from death, and also for those today in many places who are showing the same kind of courage and dedication. Please help us to fright bravely under Christ’s banner against all those things that diminish his glory. For his name’s sake, Amen