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?"


  1. Thanks so much, Andrew. I’d like to think I would, but when those close to me suffer because of my faith, I begin to wonder sometimes about the extent of my commitment. I honestly don’t think I would ever deny Jesus, but I wouldn’t have thought Peter could have either. All I know is that Jesus says we will suffer if we follow him. The world will not agree and will not understand. The world will label us irrelevant when in fact serving Jesus is the most relevant position of life. I pray with you, my friend! May God grant us the strength in days ahead… and may we use it!

  2. Could I do that? That really stood out to me. I don’t know if you have read DCTalks Martyr book, I have only heard a few stories from it, I find it gets me down something awful if I read too many of those. The one I will never forget is about a guy who lived down in South America somewhere and he was the pastor at a small church. some guerilla fighters captured his nephew and sent threats that they would torture his nephew if he did not stop teaching the Gospel. In the end he prayed with his nephew’s family all night while they ended up recieving a movie where the guerilla fighters did torture the nephew to death, his mission work took off through God’s grace. The world, as we have discussed before, will want to hate us because of our affinity with God and so we take their hate and their love as they give it. Only through God’s power can anyone resist the temptation to givein to demands made under durress about religion. I pray that strength would be with us all as we live even our ordinary and mundane lives; more, knowing that strength is there, I pray we use it.

  3. Thanks for being so bold, Paul. The good news about sharing the Good News is that bravery is not bravado and courage is not rage. I know you know that… for I’ve seen you living it out. So, if you’ll permit me, let me give you a prayer of blessing: Paul, as you continue to give your strength to God in love, may he strengthen you to live out the Good News in ever amazing ways.

  4. our culture is so used to hearing bad news or tainted news. the news is supposed to be factual, real, true, the whole story, unbiased…and so enters the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus, the news which truly is good, true, liberating and life changing. this news is foolishness to those who are not embracing a life of participation in God’s kingdom though, and so we, as witnesses, experience the joy of suffering, a martyrs life, as we live out and speak about this Good News.
    thanks for the reminder ken…i’m looking forward to seeing how brave i am as i re-enter the workforce of trades people.

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