No Greater Love

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Our King said —

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

The Apostles, as we know, we all dedicated followers of Christ. All of them gave up all they had to follow the Lord of the Universe. Yet few of us know how and under what circumstances they died. The following is an Apostle by Apostle account of how they died.

1. Matthew. Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound.

2. Mark. Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.

3. Luke. Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.

4. John. Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death.
John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully

5. Peter. He was crucified upside down on an x shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

6. James. The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.

This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

7. James the Son of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry.

As a strong leader of the church, James was beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial.

Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

8. Bartholomew. Also known as Nathaniel. He Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present-day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

9. Andrew. He Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony.

His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words, “I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it”. He continued to preach to his tormentors For two days until he expired.

10. Thomas. He Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Subcontinent.

11. Jude. He Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

12. Matthias. The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot. He was stoned and then beheaded.

13. Paul. He Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

What faith! They held on to the very end. But the message tells us that soon some we seek to die for Christ but will not be able. Let us read —

“Despite great persecution against the faithful of the primitive Christian church, their vision of the world’s great need urged them on to preach the gospel of Christ at the cost of their lives.  And notwithstanding cruelest death awaiting them, they in faith and courage in God held the light of the gospel before the people as constantly as the sun holds its rays over the earth.

   “I came into Asia,” testifies the death-bound apostle, “after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:…

   “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God….

   “And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?  for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 20:18, 19, 25-27;  21:12, 13.

   By preaching in the name of Christ, the Christians in Paul’s time were indeed seeking death.  Esteeming it the greatest privilege and honor to die for Him, they desired to do so if others might by their death obtain eternal life.

   Though God’s people today shall go through a “time of trouble such as never was” (Dan. 12:1), when earthly tribunals shall cause to come to pass “that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Rev. 13:15), yet the Word declares: “…at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Dan. 12:1.

   O what a promise and what assurance!  Who can comprehend God’s mighty power, and the glory of this long awaited deliverance?  Those who at all do, and who fully trust in the Lord will, for the good of His people, “go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Heb. 13:13.

   In thus pursuing a course against all earthly favor (by proclaiming the message of the “hour”), they will be going “forth as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt. 10:16) — “seeking death.”  And although happy to “die” for Christ’s sake, or, as the Revelator puts it though they “shall desire to die,” the promise is that “death shall flee from them,” making it impossible for them to die.  Even the sword of the wicked that is raised to kill them, shall break and fall “as powerless as a straw” (Early Writings, p. 34), making them utterly invincible.

   “In that day,” saith the Lord, “whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” Luke 17:31, 33.  In short, only those who “desire to die” for Christ’s sake shall obtain eternal life.” (Tract 5 ,p.76-78)

Oh what a promise indeed! Those honored of God to be his very last day’s servants shall be so confident and connected to Him that death will be welcomed if it means they do it for Christ. But this will not be their fate as it was our beloved Apostles.

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