The martyrs are those who died for the faith. During the Roman persecutions, every martyr was ipso facto a saint. Alongside of what was considered truth was the lives and sufferings of the first witnesses to the faith. One of the first bishops of Rome, St. Clement, set the pace when he divided the City of Rome into seven districts and assigned to each a scribe who would carefully note down the acts of the martyrs.

In the Greek, the word for witness and martyr is the same - martus. A witness had to be ready to become a martyr. To be a witness means to be loyal no matter what the cost. Martyr means witness, but in church history the term is limited to the supreme and ultimate witness any human being can give, namely, testimony sealed with his lifeblood.

Tertullian, an early church Father once said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. In times of terrible persecution, the gospel has always spread even more quickly, doing the opposite of what the persecutors had intended. So amidst all the instances of persecution and the madness of murderous heathen acts in the name of God, there is a chance to pray for the salvation of those involved, an opportunity for the spread of the gospel message of love and liberating tolerance to the surrounding communities and those that endure to the end are a witness to them. Horrible as it is, for each one murdered for standing up for Jesus is another one that goes to glory. Praise the Lord, their suffering is over. That is an incredible witness.

To suffer for the name of Jesus is to be One with Him in His sufferings. A lot has been said about suffering but Praise the Lord for He is good. If you have not entered into that suffering, it may be that you have never been to the cross. If you cannot see that Jesus died for you personally and took on the shame that we deserve, you are not and cannot be a true Christian. Everything is centered upon the cross, we are forgiven, we suffer, we are reviled, we are looked down on and in that power, we have the hope of the same glory that Jesus has. There is a time coming when we will not be so comfortable in our witness of Jesus, many of us will die. If you would ever be on trial for being a Christian, do you think that you would be convicted?
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