I’ve met some leaders who are willing and ready. They know the danger… the risk. They are aware that their life-filled, love-filled words could anger a world bent on self-destruction. They know the cost, and count it worth the price. A martyr is not someone who blows themselves up. A martyr is someone whose life is stolen from them because of their witness to the truth. Martyrdom is standing up for truth and being judged to death because of it. It’s Isaiah 53 and Philippians 2.
When Jesus says "And you will be my witnesses," he isn’t speaking pleasantries and compliments. He is initiating a dangerous reality- one where ordinary people become prophets, speaking Gospel language to a bad news world. What he is saying, actually saying, is "And you will be my martyrs." Martyr literally means witness. Just look up the word in Webster’s: 1: a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion, 2 : a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle.
Willing, ready, unflinchingly aware of the consequence. It’s life changing to
meet a person like that. To know that someone is so dedicated to you
and to others is awe-inspiring and transformational.
One of the students in my cohort at ACTS recently asked, "But how many leaders are really willing to give their life? Am I?"