HOLY WEEK THOUGHTS
Come to think about it. Faith is not what it is like to be. That through faith one can be saved from danger and pain, from agony and discomfort, from suffering and death. On the contrary, faith is when one is tested to the limits of his endurance, of his fortitude, of his patience, of his grit.
Those who profess such magnitude of faith which common run of men wanted to proximate may not be able to withstand the consequence but there they were maintaining faith up to the very end. It is something which ordinary men would be hard to comprehend.
We are oftentimes lured on the belief that our faith could save us from earthly difficulties, from sudden misfortune, from grave accidents, from any fortuitous event. Faith has nothing to do with supernatural intervention neither it is an element to produce positive vibrations.
Let us take note of what history said of the apostles, they who were witnesses and whose faith cannot be questioned.
Peter was crucified upside down on an X-shaped cross. This was because, according to church tradition, he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus Christ.
James the Just, leader of the church in Jerusalem, refused to deny his faith in Christ. He was thrown more than a hundred feet from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple (the same location where Satan had tried to tempt Jesus). Discovering that James survived the fall, his tormentors beat him to death with a fuller’s club.
James the Great, son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, he was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded him 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.
Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel, was a missionary to Asia, witnessing for Jesus in the region now under Turkey. He was martyred by whipping, for preaching in Armenia.
Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, his body was tied 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.
Thomas was stabbed with a spear during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Indian subcontinent.
Matthew, (namesake of?) the former tax collector, suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound.
Mark died after being dragged by horses through the streets of Alexandria, Egypt.
Luke was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.
John (the Evangelist, said to be different from “The Beloved,” the youngest Apostle) was condemned to boiling in a cauldron of oil, during a wave of persecution in Rome. Miraculously he was delivered from death. He was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos, where he wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation. Later freed, John returned to serve as Bishop of what is now Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only Apostle to pass away peacefully.
Jude was killed with arrows and stones when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Matthias, the Apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.
Barnabas, one of the seventy disciples mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, preached throughout Italy and Cyprus. Soon after writing the Epistle of Barnabas, he was stoned to death at Salonica, a seaport in what is now Turkey.
Paul was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. He endured lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, teaching many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
Faith has never solved a mystery; it has never even treated headaches, wounds or emotional problems. Much more so, it has nothing to do with winning in lotteries or passing examinations.
It is more than anything else actually. Faith is a grand lesson which every man should take to heart. Not necessarily to save his skin for it will not but to fulfill a grander vision of what loyalty and eventually what love is all about.
After all, it is only through Love that lasting peace can be achieved.