In light of recent news of the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt because of their faith, I was reminded of something that I had written 10 years ago for a church history class while in seminary. It was a meditation based on the painting of St. Bartholomew. Christian tradition says that Bartholomew the Apostle was martyred for his faith. It was a brutal execution.
You can read the whole devotional thought here, if you’re really interested. It’s OK if you aren’t. That’s not really the reason I’m writing today.
I really want to share one of the meditation’s final paragraphs. Because the point is just as important today as it was when I wrote it ten years ago.
The image of St. Bartholomew calls upon us to pray for the persecuted church around the world. It tells us the story of the millions of Christians who have given their lives for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. It is a startling reminder that the price of following Jesus Christ is not cheap. It is not a road that will be traveled lightly. There will be trials and persecution of all kinds. In the end, it could cost the believer everything – including the loss of life. It is the example of St. Bartholomew that encourages the believer to press on towards the prize, knowing full well the costs involved. It is with that same confidence that we face the perils of following the Lord of all things.
I think these martyred Egyptian Christians do the exact same thing. While the nations rage and come up with a fitting response to these barbaric acts, let us count the cost and take up the cross with reckless abandon. Let us live in boldness, full of hope, joy, and love, as we press on towards Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
I know it’s not easy. I’m not pretending it is. But this is how we are going to change the world, my friends.