The Unbaptized Arm
Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.
However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.
The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.
The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan’s response, "I will do it!"
So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.
He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.
What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia--ribbons of valor, medals of courage. and their weapons of battle.
Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being...Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Robert Marsh on Mar 22, 2005
Most of us are familiar with this song – it’s the theme from the television show Friends. But have you ever caught the lyrics to the song? They read, in part: So no one told you life was gonna be this way Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A. It’s like you’re always stuck ...read more
Contributed by David Elvery on Nov 14, 2004
A little boy was leading his sister up a mountain path and the way was not too easy. "Why this isn't a path at all," the little girl complained. "Its all rocky and bumpy." Her little brother kept on up the mountain, ...read more
Contributed by Kenneth Squires on Sep 30, 2005
Do you know that you already have the gift of a consuming passion for hungering and thirsting? You activate it when you surrender your life to the Spirit’s working. Billy Graham was asked, “What is the most important ...read more
Contributed by Brad Froese on Aug 30, 2004
We went to Disneyland a few weeks ago and stood in line together for the 3-D movie, “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.” I promised my son there was nothing in there that could hurt him when we walked in to sit down, because he was afraid of the dark and unfamiliar theater. When we sat down, I ...read more
Contributed by Kim Huffman on Mar 31, 2004
In a painting of the Crucifixion by the famous Dutch artist, Rembrandt, our attention is drawn immediately to the cross and to Him who hangs there. Then looking at the crowd gathered around the Cross, we note the attitudes and actions of these people. As our eyes drift to the edge of the ...read more
Contributed by Jonathan Vorce on Sep 6, 2017
We are commanded by God to "make" disciples. This message can aid in the developing of fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
Contributed by Paul Evans on Jun 12, 2017
Christianity is not something that can be chosen from a buffet of religious options… It's a realization that we're guilty… It's a relationship forged in repentance... It's a life of loving service & obedience to the One whose mercy & grace set us free.