10 The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.11 When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. 12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13 You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
The Actes and Monuments, popularly known as ‘Foxes’s Book of Martyrs, is a work of Protestant history and martyrology by Protestant English historian John Foxe, first published in 1563. It includes the account of the sufferings of Protestants under the Catholic Church. The book went through four editions in Foxe’s lifetime and several later editions and abridgments, including some that specifically reduced the text to a Book of Martyrs. I have read this book, which is full of true stories of Christian persecution. This book shows the hate the world has for the people who follow Jesus & share His word. Many of you may only experience a little hate that causes the USA to give its citizens ‘the Freedom of Religion’, but in other countries, such freedom does not exist. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs has a few examples of those who died for the gospel of Jesus.
He was brought to Christ by his brother Andrew; Peter is known as the disciple who often spoke before he thought. After Christ’s death, Peter was the fiery preacher prominently seen in the first half of the book of Acts. He founded the church at Antioch and traveled preaching mainly to Jews about Jesus Christ. Peter was martyred under Nero’s reign. He was killed in Rome around the years 64 to 67. Tradition holds that he was crucified upside down. Like Andrew, his brother, he is said to have refused to be crucified as Christ because he was unworthy to be executed in the same way as the Lord.
Known as “The Morning Star of the Reformation,” John Wycliffe was a 14th-century theologian. He is probably best remembered as a translator of scriptures. He believed the Bible should be available to the people in their common tongue. He translated the Latin Vulgate into standard English. He was persecuted for his stand against papal authority. While he was not burned at stake as a martyr, his persecution extended beyond his death. His body was exhumed and burned along with many of his writings. The Anti-Wycliffe Statute of 1401 brought persecution to his followers and specifically addressed the fact that there should not be any translation of Scripture into English.
Huss was a Czech priest who was burned at stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Particularly, he fought against the doctrines of Ecclesiology and the Eucharist taught by the Roman Catholic Church. He was an early reformer living before the time of Luther and Calvin (other well-known reformers of Roman Catholicism). Huss was martyred on July 6, 1415. He refused to recant his position on the charges brought against him. On the day he died, he said, “God is my witness that the things charged against me I never preached. In the same truth of the Gospel, I have written, taught, and preached, drawing upon the sayings and positions of the holy doctors, I am ready to die today.”
William Tyndale was a reformer who stood against many teachings of the Catholic Church and opposed King Henry VIII’s divorce, one of the major issues in the Reformation. Tyndale’s English translation of the Bible was the first to draw significantly from the original languages. It was illegal against the papacy for the Bible to be in the common language, so Tyndale was arrested. Tyndale was choked to death while tied to the stake and then burned. The date of commemoration of Tyndale’s martyrdom is October 6, 1536.This kind of hatred is what the world shows the followers of Jesus, but He says to endure to the end, and we will be saved. Saved does not mean you will not experience any earthly death. All the martyrs in Foxes’ book died and are still dead. They will receive a new everlasting life when God judges the quick and the dead. It is a beatitude to receive persecution. There is a reward for those who have done, those who currently are, and those who will. Keep them in your prayers, and prepare your hearts, so you will be ready when your time comes. God bless you all; Jesus loves you, and so do I. His bondservant of the Lord, Samuel Jerry Head.