From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 13:9-11

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues.  You will be broughtbefore rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.  And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditatewhat you will speak.  But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”            NKJV

                    

Some of the most stirring speeches ever uttered for the cause of Christ were given by Christians who were martyrs for Jesus and the gospel.  On May 31, 1559, a group of Bible-believing Christians were worshipping in the home of Doña Isabella.  Their worship service was reported to the Roman Catholic Holy Office and they were all arrested and arrayed before the dreaded inquisition.

Doña Isabella was the cousin of King Phillip II of Spain.  She was at least seven months pregnant at the time.  Not even Doña Isabella’s blood relationship with the king could save her.  She was placed on the rack and tortured in order to get her to implicate others and deny her faith in Christ.  After refusing to recant, her head was locked into clamps to keep it from moving and metal jaws were used to hold her mouth open.  Sharp brittle cloth was shoved down her throat and forced into her stomach by water drops before being yanked out.  This procedure was repeated over and over again.

Doña Isabella remained steadfast to the end, refusing to recant and deny her faith in Christ.  As she addressed the tribunal and jury, she said, “How can I deny my Savior?  How can I deny Him who died on the cross for my sins?  How can I deny the One who gave me life?  How can I deny Him who is my only hope in eternity after you massacre my body, after you destroy my person?  I will not lie, because I learned the truth.  I pray to God that you might know Christ, my Savior, because He is the truth.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”

Afterward, Doña Isabella, in her blood-soaked dress was taken out to be burned at the stake.  As she and her unborn baby, who almost certainly had died in her womb, were given to the flames, she prayed, “Sweet Jesus, take us home!” and then Doña Isabella was ushered into the waiting arms of her Lord and Savior.

What about us?  Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34-35)?  It is easy to verbally say, “I’m willing to die for Christ,” but are you living for Him?  How can we truly say we are ready to die for Jesus if we do not even live for Him?

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.                 Tertullian 

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