Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The proof is in the dying

This long incarceration and final execution also wrote martyrdom into the church’s definition of leadership. Paul’s faithfulness and courage must have impressed if not chastened the other leaders of the early church. He had endured a great deal and then died for his Lord—more than most of them had yet done, although several would eventually join him. Paul’s martyrdom would have sealed the sincerity and power of his mission in his own blood. Moreover, it wrote the importance of being prepared to die into the church’s leadership manual. And embracing this narrative would prove crucial to the survival of the church during the centuries that followed (and it still does). Paul, like Jesus, modeled a willingness to die on behalf of God, which meant a willingness to face down charges and trials, to endure imprisonments, and to refuse to be frightened by death, all the while eschewing the weapons of the world.—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 176

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