1 Corinthians 13:3 (NLT)
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
This week’s spiritual gift is martyrdom. The definition of martyrdom is to give over one's life to suffer or to be put to death for the cause of Christ.
Consider the following:
Rev. Dr. Lover wrote, “After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples were advancing Christianity to their own demise. The disciples and other followers were murdered and clearly Christianity was birth out of violence, persecution, imprisonment and ultimately martyrdom.” Another source wrote, “Christians did undoubtedly face hostility, arrest, and martyrdom from its inception, even if it tended to be sporadic and localized. For small fragile immunities, it would not take much in the way of opposition either from Jewish or Gentile sources to engender a feeling of fear, insecurity, and victimization, especially after the Neronic persecutions of 64 CE. In our scripture lesson, Paul, the author of 1 Corinthians, is talking about being betrayed, the willingness to die for Christ’s cause, being handed over to persecutors, and being martyred. Therefore, when we look at the spiritual gift of martyrdom, we are looking at individual’s who base on their belief will sacrifice their life. We see this historically as well as presently, particularly if you are not living in North America that people’s lives are still at stake when they proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we know that being a disciple of Jesus and spreading the Good News is a part of being Christian. However, at what cost? We have heard many stories of people proudly that stated they are a Christian and then were slain. We have also heard about being people denying Christ to save their own lives. Thus, the spiritual gift of martyrdom is a gift which illustrates the true cost of being a Christian.