Imagine yourself living in the times of the early Christianity, during the second half of the first century. Christians were persecuted. Many of them knew that following Christ could mean death, and probably a cruel one.
Many people among the early followers were eye witnesses of Jesus’ miracles and wonders. They heard the good news from His own lips.
After Jesus resurrected, He spent 40 days among them. Those people were also witnesses of His resurrection.
They had all the physical and rational evidence they needed to believe. Then later, they received the Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised:
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)
The things that they didn’t understand at first now were clear. The Holy Spirit helped them remember and understand everything that Jesus had said.
Can you imagine being there and seeing all those things yourself? There would be no argument that could change your mind, because you knew.
Those first believers knew the truth. They had no doubt about it. The Holy Spirit assured them.
So what happened when someone threatened their lives if they didn’t deny their faith? They willingly died for their Savior. The church tradition tells of believers who died singing praises to the Lord.
Their deaths is one of the strongest rational arguments for the reality of Jesus. First, because those people would rather face cruel deaths than to deny their Savior. Second, because something out of the ordinary comforted them in such an amazing way that they praised the Lord while they were tortured and murdered. You can’t help but wonder if they were telling the truth about Jesus being with them at all times:
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
We don’t have details in the Bible, but History and Church tradition tells us that all disciples, except John, died like martyrs, yet they didn’t deny their faith. Keep in mind that they all fled when Jesus was arrested (again except John), fearing for their lives. The assurance of the resurrection and the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives changed everything.
Nowadays, there are still christians suffering and even dying for not denying their faith. The voices of the martyrs resound through all History to show what they believed: that Jesus is the Son of God, Savior, God with us.
They died not to be silent. They died to tell us what they believed.
We can’t ignore their voices, their testimony. We can’t ignore their Lord. We can’t ignore their Savior.
Think about it.
I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly. (Psalm 40:10)