I am a Jesus pusher!!! “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10). My childhood heroes were the New Testament’s men of faith. I discovered a book containing an artist’s perception of each of the twelve disciples. His drawings were inspired by descriptions from history. In my admiration for these twelve men, I carefully removed the pictures from the book and framed them. Many of these disciples died a martyr’s death. John, the beloved, was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. One of my favorite chapters is the roll call of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11). The list of sufferings includes mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented — of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:36-38).
Fox’s Book of Martyrs is a classic. I was raised on its information. These individuals were so captured by Jesus that nothing could deter them. They lived with the long-range view of eternal values. What could not be seen in the immediate was crystal clear through the eyes of faith. With great admiration we honor them; but we do not want to join them. We desire relief, reduced pressure, and life without problems. We do not begin our day with internal cravings for suffering through persecution. Perhaps we have missed the mind of Christ! How does He think? Is it found in this climatic Beatitude? I am a Jesus pusher!!!