Age- 86 years old (when he died)
Education- Studied under the Apostle John
Occupation- Bishop of Smyrna
In the early church history, there were several martyrs who stood firm on their belief in Christ even if it means death– and not just death but humiliation and the excruciating pain of torture. They all have a choice to escape this painful way of dying, if only they will refute their belief in Christ, they will be released. (Not to mention, there is a possibility that they could just lie about refuting it and be free as a “secret” Christian)
Polycarp was captured and brought before the proconsul (he decides their fate)
Proconsul: (Wishing to spare this elderly man, he promised…) Swear by the divinity of Caesar, and I will RELEASE THEE; reproach Christ.
Polycarp: Eighty and six years have I served Him (GOD), and He never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?
Proconsul: I have wild beasts (pertaining to one of their most famous torture) If you make light of the beasts, I’ll have you destroyed by fire.
Polycarp: The fire you threaten burns for a time and is soon extinguished; there is a fire you know nothing about– the fire of judgment to come and eternal punishment, the fire reserved for the ungodly.
After this discussion, this elderly man 86 years of age, was burned at the stake and he soon perished in the flames. MANY WERE IMPRESSED BY HIS FAITH AND CONSIDERED CLAIMS OF JESUS CHRIST AS A RESULT.
What a powerful testimony, indeed!
It made me appreciate the blessings that we have now that we’re in a free country– no persecutions for Christians.
But it also made me realize one thing: In a free country like the Philippines, it’s ironic that we do not share the Gospel more compared to our early Church fathers who knew that whenever they are sharing the Gospel and they’re living for Christ,there is a huge percentage that they will die a horrible death and nonetheless they are willing to risk their lives for the Gospel!
Let us spread the Word of God and share the Gospel to as much people as we can. Let us not waste God’s blessings of having a free country!
And might I just say this, IF YOU’RE SCARED OF BEING REJECTED BY PEOPLE, THINK ABOUT POLYCARP– HE WAS BURNED AT STAKE. REJECTION BY PEOPLE IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THAT, SO JUST CARRY ON AND DON’T THINK ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT SAY TO YOU BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT REALLY REJECTING YOU, THEY’RE REJECTING CHRIST.
JUST DO WHAT YOU ARE COMMANDED TO DO. SHARE HIS WORD TO THE WORLD.
BJMBC- Church History Syllabus