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Monday, January 02, 2006

Kindling Polycarp Incandescence (II)

Others willing to set themselves on fire for Christ:

(Kuiper, B.K.; The Church in History; copyright 1951 by The National Union of Christian Schools, Grand Rapids, MI; pp. 62, 63)

Polycarp was the last of those who had been personally taught by the apostles. He was arrested and brought into the amphitheater in Smyrna, which was filled with an immense multitude. Since there were no images of gods in the houses of worship of the Christians, the heathen rightly concluded that the Chirstians did not believe in the existence of the gods; and so they accused them of being atheists... The procunsul reminded Polycarp of his great age, and urged him to show his penitence by joining in the cry of "Away with the atheists!" Polycarp looked straight at the excited crowd, pointed his finger at them and cried, "Away with the atheists!"

Then the proconsul said, "Revile Christ, and I will release you."

But Polycarp answered, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He has never done me wrong; how can I blaspheme Him, my King, who has saved me? I am a Christian."

To the crowd the proconsul then proclaimed, "Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian."

The crowds yelled, "Let him be burned!"

Wood was collected and made into a pile. Polycarp asked not to be fastened to the stake. "Leave me thus," he said. "He who strengthens me to endure the flames, will also enable me to stand firm at the stake without being fastened with nails." The wood pile was lighted. While Polycarp prayed with a loud voice, "Lord God Almighty, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I praise thee that thou hast judged me worthy of this day and of this hour to participate in the number of thy witnesses, and in the cup of thy Christ," the flames consumed him. Polycarp's martyr death took place in the year 155.

( )

He endured a multitude of tortures. Then he was condemned to be consumed by a slow and gentle fire. Throughout it all, he exhibited an undeniable proof of his sincere devotedness to God. (352)


Lauren said...

Wow, these men were amazing. There example is still strengthening people today-including myself!

Rachel Pierson said...

I think about this a lot. Would I deny my Christ? I pray that I would not. But everyday in smaller ways, I do deny Him.
God help me, if I cannot be faithfull with the little things, then I cannot be trusted with the weightier things.

God, Give me the fortitude to stand for You and not deny Your name when faced with the horrific scorn of my acquaintances. Give me joy in it, but always be glorified in me. Build my endurance for those times when the scorn may be heavier, or when I will need to encourage a loved one to endure beyond their own ability and common sense.
In the Name of Jesus, Amen.