November 18, 2013
“They have burned our possessions, but they cannot burn Jesus from our hearts.”
Origen was not the typical eighteen-year-old. He was a teacher in second-century Egypt. As the church of his day suffered severe persecution, Origen did not spend his time chasing girls or trying to impress his peers.
Instead of running from the horror that had killed even his own father, Origen chose to become a companion with the persecuted church. He spent his time encouraging Christians who had been brought before the court. When they were led to death, he walked up to kiss them. He even visited the prisons to comfort the believers.
But Origen soon found himself in grave danger for his compassion toward the condemned believers. Soon soldiers were posted around his house because of his influence on the church. He had many enemies, and the anger towards him grew hotter each day.
He was eventually forced to leave the city. He moved from house to house because of the many threats against his life. But spurred on by the examples of faith in Hebrews, he continued being a companion to those who were persecuted. He even employed several people to handwrite additional copies of the Scriptures.
Eventually, his amazing attitude drew some of his enemies to Christ. However, he was eventually imprisoned, tortured, and killed for this same attitude.
What does it mean to be a companion to those who are persecuted? People are not companions because they are going through the exact same sufferings. We may be in entirely different situations from our brothers and sisters in restricted nations, yet we can still be their companions. Physical distance does not make us soul mates. Personal devotion does. Unwavering support, prayer, and concern link our hearts and lives together. Like Origen, are we willing to align ourselves with those who are suffering for the gospel? We can neither be ashamed of our friendships nor ignorant of the ensuing risks. When we hear the voice of the martyrs calling to us in our prayers, will we heed their cries as true companions?
YOUR TURN: Read Hebrews 10:32-34. What does it mean for you, personally, to be a companion to the suffering church? Comment on this post with your answer.