James the brother of Jesus and James the son of Zebedee preach and are killed by mobs in Jerusalem; Matthew is slain on a sword in Ethiopia; Philip is hanged in Phrygia; Bartholomew flayed alive in Armenia; Andrew is crucified in Achaia; Thomas run through with a lance in East Asia; Thaddeus is shot to death with arrows, a cross goes up in Persia for Simon the zealot, and another in Rome for Peter; Matthias is beheaded; only John escapes a martyr’s grave. Paul also was died a grisly death. What made them follow Jesus to their deaths? Was their faith and trust in Jesus a psychological crutch? Was their belief in the resurrection of Jesus misplaced, mistaken, or misguided?
Why have so many people from so many tribes, languages, socio-economic backgrounds, political persuasions, professions, people groups, continents, and periods of history put their faith in Jesus to save them from the penalty of breaking God’s commandments and gain assurance of life after death? What made these men and women swear allegiance to Jesus and pattern their lives after him? They met the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Lord Jesus, and they were convinced that He was who He said He was…people such as:
Johann Gutenberg, produced the first printed Bible in 1456; Martin Luther, posts 95 theses on the wall of the Church in Germany to bring reform in 1517; John Bunyan, published The Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678; Jonathan Edwards, led the Great Awakening in New England in 1735; George Fredric Handel, composed His Messiah in London in 1741; William Carey, sailed from England to India in 1793 to extend the gospel there and bring broad cultural improvement; The British Parliament, voted to abolish the slave trade in 1807 due to effort of William Wilberforce and a few colleagues; William and Catherine Booth, founded the Salvation Army in 1865; Billy Graham, held his first Crusade in Los Angeles in 1949; Mother Teresa, pioneered a Mission of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950; Martin Luther King Jr., led the march for civil rights on Washington in 1965; The Chinese Church, grows despite cultural revolution and government pressure in 1966-1976.
Do you realize how much Jesus has affected world history? The value of human life? Caring for the poor? Education? Civil liberties? Science? Economics? Sexuality and the family? Health and medicine? Morality? The Arts and Music? Are you convinced Jesus is who he says he is?
Imagine the millions of lives that have been improved by Jesus while they were on earth, and yet were prepared for eternity: A first century prostitute named Mary Magdalene; A 4th century skeptic who lived according to the flesh named Augustine; A slave trader named John Newton in 1747; A 20th century atheist named C.S. Lewis; A ruthless politician who used dirty tricks to advance his career named Chuck Colson in 1970; Scientists, engineers, artists, educators, lawyers, athletes, actors, & you, if you let him.
That’s why we have a Never Ending Passion – that the passion of the Christ on that day (resurrection) should fuel our compassion for people who do not know Jesus yet every day. Once we know Jesus, our thank you to Him for his gift of salvation should be to serve him in every area of our lives. Will you make the never-ending passion “your passion?” Serve globally. Tell someone about Jesus today with your words and actions.
Love is a verb,