The Martyrs of Libya 2015.
Bible Readings and Devotion for September 20, 2020
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Devotion for September 20, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
One of the most moving stories of Christian martyrdom in recent years has been the Martyrs of Libya in 2015. This is the group of 21 Coptic Christians who were lined up and killed on a be the strong faith of each of the others. The other 20 were Egyptians. This man was from Ghana. The Holy Spirit used the faith of those 20 to bring that 1 into the body of Christ. When confronted by the terrorists about his faith, the man from Ghana, who did not previously express faith in Jesus, said, in some way, “Their God is my God.”
Here is a Coptic Icon of the Martyrs of Libya 2015.
Photo Credit: By Fadi Mikhail – glowimg.pw, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77078458
Our reading from 2 Corinthians 4 has St. Paul telling about his experience with persecution. He writes, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.” He did suffer much in his lifetime for the sake of the Gospel. Later he was eventually Martyred by the orders of Roman Emperor Nero. This was on June 29 around AD 64-66. This was after the story of the book of Acts was completed, so we must look to early Church history to get this information.
Yes, persecution is horrible and sad. But it also shows others how serious Christians are about their faith. In the “Reformation Theology” Blog, the writers note the following.
“The famous observation of Tertullian that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” has a depth of insight which is all too often lost on believers today. We have no trouble thinking of persecution and martyrdom as a great obstacle to the spread of the gospel which will not, however, be successful in hindering Church growth. We would have no problem affirming that the blood of the martyrs is a hurdle which, by God’s grace, can be overcome. But to say that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church is an altogether different concept. If martyrdom is a surmountable obstacle to the growth of the Church, then the Church might advance just as well, even better, without it. But if the blood of the martyrs truly is the seed of the Church, then without it, the Church does not grow. Without martyrdom, the Church would never have taken root in the world of Tertullian. Without martyrdom, the Church would not have spread to the Auca Indians in South America, or to China or Burma or the islands of the South Seas.”
We thank you, O God, for all your servants and witnesses of times past: for Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, Deborah and Gideon, Samuel and Hannah; for Isaiah and the prophets; for Mary, mother of our Lord; for Mary Magdalene, Peter, Paul, and for all the apostles, for Stephen and Phoebe, and for all the martyrs and saints in every time and in every land. In your mercy, give us, as you gave them, the hope of salvation and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen