Our Lord Jesus already gave warn to His disciples and to the future Christians of persecutions. These warnings can be considered as one of His prophecies that was fulfilling until our time. Our Lord Himself experienced these persecutions: “…ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”. But John the Baptist was the one who experienced the first execution. John the Baptist was beheaded. He was imprisoned by King Herod for speaking against Herod marrying his brother, Philip’s wife, Herodias. Herodias’ daughter danced on King Herod’s birthday and he was pleased and promised to give her whatever she asks for. The daughter seeks advice to her mother and was ordered to request for John the Baptist’s head… on the plate. The rest is history.
Jesus was sentenced to death under the Roman rule and experienced their method of execution, crucifixion. He was tortured first before the execution.
Before the He was sentenced, He already received persecutions from His countrymen. He was persecuted for His teachings and presenting Himself as the Son of God and being one with the Father. “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” – John 10:30. He was accused of blasphemy and organizing and heading a revolt against the Roman Empire.
First century Christians are executed when they found with/owning a Bible. They were, along with their Bible, beheaded, stoned, tortured, burned alive, fed in lions, skinned alive, etc..
Here is the list of some famous people in the Bible that was tortured and executed.
- James the Great, the elder brother of John the Apostle, was beheaded in A.D. 44.
- Philip, who served in Upper Asia was scourged in Phrygia, thrown into prison and later crucified (A.D. 54).
- Matthew the tax collector served the Lord in Parthia and Ethiopia where he was slain with a halberd (a shafted weapon with an axe-like cutting blade and a speared end) in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.
- James the Less, the brother of the Lord, served the church in Jerusalem and wrote the book of James. He suffered martyrdom at the age of ninety-four by being beaten and stoned by the Jews.
- Matthias, the man who was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.
- Andrew, the brother of Peter, preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations and was crucified on a cross at Edessa. The ends of his cross were fixed transversely in the ground, thus the derivation of the term, St. Andrew’s cross.
- Mark was converted to Christianity by Peter and served as amanuensis (he wrote for Peter). He was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria.
- Peter, the apostle, was sought by Nero to be put to death. Jerome wrote that Peter was crucified with his head down and his feet up, because he thought himself unworthy to be crucified in the same form and manner as the Lord.
- Paul was really persecuted several times. He was scourged, stoned, and finally, Nero had him beheaded by a sword.
- Jude, the brother of James, commonly called Thaddeus, was crucified at Edessa in A.D. 72.
- Bartholomew preached in several countries and translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India. He was cruelly beaten and then crucified by in patient idolaters.
- Thomas, doubting Thomas, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India. He excited the rage of the pagan priests and was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.
- Luke the author of Luke and Acts travelled with Paul through various countries and was supposed to have been hanged on and olive tree by the idolatrous priests of Greece.
- Simon the Zealot preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even Britain where he was crucified in A.D. 74.
- John, the Apostle whom Jesus loved, was sent from Ephesus to Rome where he was put into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by a miracle, without injury, but was then banished to the Isle of Patmos and there he wrote the book of Revelation. Nerva, Domitian’s successor, said he was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.
Present day Christians should celebrate the freedom we are experiencing. We should take advantage of this freedom to share the Gospel to others. Early Christians were able to be faithful in the expense of their lives. Modern Christians can’t even be faithful in the expense of their pocket. Let’s not be lazy, half-hearted, and lukewarm.
I feel blessed that I have the freedom to build this site and fill it with my written faith. I’m able to write and profess my faith, and live another day.
With all these persecutions, Jesus had promised us to send a Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit.
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” – John 16:1
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” – John 15:18
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” – 1 Peter 1:7
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”– John 15:26
“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”– Galatians 5:5