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The Amazing Faith of Polycarp February 3, 2009

Posted by pastorsbc1303 in Uncategorized.
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I found this last week while studying for my sermon on Revelation 2:8-11.  It is pretty impressive faith. Polycarp served as the pastor of the church at Smyrna. The following event took place in 155 A.D.

“Now the most admirable Polycarp, when he first heard the news, was not disturbed. In fact, he wanted to remain in town, but the majority persuaded him to withdraw. So he withdrew to a farm not far distant from the city. And as those who were searching for him persisted, he moved to another farm. Mounted police and horsemen, closing in on him late in the evening, found him in bed in an upstairs room in a small cottage; and though he still could have escaped from there to another place, he refused, saying, “May God’s will be done.” After transferring him to their carriage and sitting down at his side, they tried to persuade him, saying, “Why, what harm is there in saying, ‘Caesar is Lord,’ and offering incense” (and other words to this effect) “and thereby saving yourself?” Now at first he gave them no answer. But when they persisted, he said, “I am not about to do what you are suggesting to me.” He was led to the stadium. There was such a tumult in the stadium that no one could even be heard. But as Polycarp entered the stadium, there came a voice from heaven: “Be strong, Polycarp, and act like a man.” And no one saw the speaker, but those of our people who were present heard the voice. The proconsul tried to persuade him to recant, saying, “Have respect for your age,” and other such things as they are accustomed to say. When the magistrate persisted and said, “Swear the oath, and I will release you; revile Christ,” Polycarp replied, “For eighty-six years I have been his servant, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” So the proconsul said: “I have wild beasts; I will throw you to them, unless you change your mind.” But he said: “Call for them!” The he said to him again: “I will have you consumed by fire, since you despise the wild beasts, unless you change your mind.” But Polycarp said: “You threaten with a fire that burns only briefly and after just a little while is extinguished, for you are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and eternal punishment, which is reserved for the ungodly. But why do you delay? Come, do what you wish.” The proconsul was astonished, and sent his own herald into the midst of the stadium to proclaim three times: “Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian.” When this was proclaimed by the herald, the entire crowd, Gentiles as well as Jews living in Smyrna, cried out with uncontrollable anger and with a loud shout: “This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the destroyer of our gods, who teaches many not to sacrifice or worship.” The crowd swiftly collected wood and kindling from the workshops and baths, the Jews being especially eager to assist in this, as is their custom. Then the materials prepared for the pyre were placed around him; and as they were also about to nail him, he said: “Leave me as I am; for he who enables me to endure the fire will also enable me to remain on the pyre without moving, even without the sense of security which you get from the nails.” So they did not nail him, but tied him instead. Then he, having placed his hands behind him and having been bound, looked up to heaven and said: “O Lord God Almighty, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received knowledge of you, the God of angels and powers and of all creation, and of the whole race of the righteous who live in your presence, I bless you because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of the martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among them in your presence today, as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, as you have prepared and revealed beforehand, and have now accomplished, you who are the undeceiving and true God. For this reason, indeed for all things, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you, through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, through whom to you with him and the Holy Spirit be glory both now and for the ages to come. Amen.” When he had offered up the “Amen” and finished his prayer, the men in charge of the fire lit the fire.”

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Comments»

1. graceshaker - February 6, 2009

i want a faith like that.


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