Beatitude Series # 8
Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ
Matt 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Original date May 29, 1999
Revised June 17, 2001
A Texan billionaire with a beautiful, 22 year old Bay-Watch daughter, was fond of holding parties around his deep, opulent swimming pool. In the pool he kept a vicious 20 foot great-white shark. Every party night he would issue a challenge to all the young men present: “Half my fortune, or my daughter’s hand in marriage to the man who swims across this pool!”
Of course he could never get a challenger. Then one night, immediately the challenge was issued, a tall, muscular hunk hit the water. With arms churning he charged across the pool like a speed-boat. In a wink the shark sped after him closing in fast. The hunk reached the other side whipping out of the water just as the shark smashed into the concrete.
The pool guests screamed and applauded the incredible hero. “Bravo! Fantastic!” cried the Texan, “That’s the greatest act of courage I’ve ever seen. Half my fortune is yours!”
“I don’t want your fortune”, replied the hunk quietly.
With tears of pride in his eyes the Texan looking at his daughter who nodded excitedly, said, “I’d be so proud to call you son, you can have my daughter’s hand in marriage.”
“I don’t want your daughter either”, he replied.
“Well”, quizzed the Texan, “you don’t want my money or my daughter. What do you want?”
The hunk hissed through clenched teeth, “Just get me the name of the guy who pushed me into the pool.”
According to Fox’s Book of Martyrs, the following suffered persecution:
a. James, the son of Zebedee, was beheaded. It is said that on his way to be martyred, James’ accuser was so impressed by his courage and conviction that he repented of his sin, professed himself to be a Christian, and was beheaded along with James.
b. Philip was thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified, A. D. 54.
c. Matthew was killed with a sword
e. Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.
f. Andrew, the brother of Peter, was crucified on a cross, two ends of which were in the ground. Hence, St. Andrew’s Cross.
g. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria.
h. Peter, it is thought, was crucified upside down at his own request because he did not feel worthy enough to be crucified in the same manner as His Lord.
i. Paul was beheaded.
j. Jude was crucified.
k. Bartholomew was cruelly beaten and then crucified.
l. Thomas was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.
m. Luke, it is believed, was hanged on an olive tree.
n. Simon was crucified, A. D. 74.
o. Barnabas was put to death about A. D. 73.
That’s a real conversation starter Eric They were 2000 years ago when people were lead by their hatred and there was no government to stop them. Well then just listen to some of these stories.
1. In Africa, a young boy ten years old is made to gather wood by Muslin government soldiers. They then begin to pressure him to denounce being a Christian and become a Muslim. He refuses and they threw him on to the burning wood he gathered and leave him to die. By God’s grace he survived and I listened to him tell his story and saw the scars where he was burned.. He said they told him if he began a Muslin he would be released. The boy, James Zeda, refused saying that was not possible, because he was a Christian.
2. Rikka, a young teenage girl attends a Christian Bible camp in her country. Muslims attack the camp and she is taking in the bushes and a piece of broken glass held to her stomach. She is told to deny Christ. She cries out "Oh, Lord help me, I do not want to deny you!"
3, In China the pastor Li Di Xien of a house church is holding services. The police break in and drag him out. They find a Bible in his shirt and he is severely beaten. This is the fifth time he has been caught and they warn him if he is caught again they will kill him.
4. In Pakistan, Khalid Masih, and eight other Christians are awaiting their trials for blasphemy by their Muslin government. Twice groups of radical Muslims attacked the local Baptist church and the home of Pastor Yousef Masih. Everything they had of value was stolen. Because they are Christians they cannot get work.
5. Vietnamese Christians are still being persecuted throughout their country. At least 13 religious detainees were still being held in Vietnamese prisons without charge. Nguyen Thi Thuy spent eleven months in jail for holding a simply Bible study in her home.