“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
In AD 44, King Herod ordered that James the Greater be thrust through with a sword. He was the first of the apostles to be martyred.
And so the bloodbath began.
- Luke was hung by the neck from an olive tree in Greece.
- Doubting Thomas was pierced with a pine spear, tortured with red-hot plates, and burned alive in India.
- In AD 54, the proconsul of Hierapolis had Philip tortured and crucified because his wife converted to Christianity while listening to Philip preach. Philip continued to preach while on the cross.
- Matthew was stabbed in the back in Ethiopia.
- Bartholomew was flogged to death in Armenia.
- James the Just was thrown off the southeast pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem. After surviving the one-hundred-foot fall, he was clubbed to death by a mob.
- Simon the Zealot was crucified by a governor of Syrian in AD 74.
- Judas Thaddeus was beaten to death with sticks in Mesopotamia.
- Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot, was stoned to death and then beheaded.
- And Peter was crucified upside down at his own request. J
- John the Beloved is the only disciple to die of natural causes, but that’s only because he survived his own execution. When a cauldron of boiling oil could not kill John, Emperor Diocletian exiled him to the island of Patmos, where he lived until his death in AD 95.
This shouldn’t be surprising nor shocking when we consider that our Savior and Lord was crucified on the cross.
There is nothing wrong with having nice things or being healthy. It’s just that wealth and health was not the reason why we were created. When we become too comfortable with the things of earth, we lose sight of heaven and eternity.
Our treasure isn’t here. Our home isn’t here. We are merely passing through. We weren’t created for these few decades. We were created for eternity.
Eternity is where our treasure is. Eternity is our home. We are merely passing through.