October 17, 2010
As strange as it may seem, there is a pattern for “dying well” and “dying triumphant” found in the pages of Scripture. And this pattern is evidenced in the deaths of the greatest and most godly men and women throughout the ages. For instance, Stephen was stoned, James (the brother of John) was beheaded, Peter was crucified upside down, Paul was beheaded, Philip was crucified, Matthew was slain with the sword, James (the brother of Jesus) was stoned and clubbed, Matthias was stoned and beheaded, Mark was dragged to pieces, Jude was crucified, Bartholomew was cruelly beaten and then crucified; Thomas was thrust through with a spear, Luke was hung, and John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil (and removed unscathed) and then exiled to Patmos. But in all their deaths, these Christian men exhibited a superhuman behavior—a pattern for facing the most extreme suffering with a brave calm and a steadfast courage. And it is this pattern that we as Christians are to begin practicing in our daily lives.