The Stoning of Stephen
There are some martyrs of the early church that were not part of the twelve disciples, but still deserve mention.
*NOTE Again, I am trying to be discreet, but some of the content is violent.
Anyone who has read the New Testament knows that Stephen was the first martyr. He was preaching in Jerusalem when the angry Jews stoned him to death. The Scriptures tell us that Stephen's face shined like the sun and he saw a vision of the Son of Man. (Acts 6-7) Many people were affected by his last words, because like Christ, he asked God to forgive his executors. Saul of Tarsus was present at Stephen's death, he was 'consenting unto his death' and even held the coats of those who actually threw the stones. This is a fact that Saul (now Paul) would struggle with his entire life. He mentions his regret several times in his letters to the early church. (Acts 22:20 and others)
Paul is arrested
Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus)
After the stoning of Stephen, Paul acquired a force from the priests in Jerusalem with the permission to seek out Christians and beat and/or imprison them. Saul was very zealous at his persecution, until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. After Jesus appeared to Paul, he was left blinded and went into the town of Damascus, and there waited, for Jesus had told him that someone there would tell him what to do. Ananias came and opened Saul's eyes, baptized him, and Saul then spent many days with the believers there. To evidence the change in Saul, his name was changed to Paul, and he spread the gospel with even more zeal that he had in persecuting the early church. A large part of the New Testament is written by Paul. But Paul did not have an easy life. He faced many scourging and persecutions. He was beaten, stoned, and shipwrecked three times, (2 Cor. 11:24-26) but his death did not come until many years later when he finally appeared before Caesar and testified to him in Rome. Paul was then beheaded because as a citizen of Rome, a more cruel death would not have been proper.
Jude was the brother of James and was also referred to as Thaddeus. He wrote one book that is included in the New Testament, and although a short book, it is packed with great teaching. Jude was crucified at Edessa around A.D. 72.
Have you read about the early church martyrs? What do you think about changing your name upon conversion?
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Amber Schamel was born in Littleton, CO and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and the Holy Land. She was raised in a family of 11 children, home-schooled through education and currently works with their 10 family businesses. Amber is a multi-published author and currently lives with her family outside of Colorado Springs, CO..
(c) 2013 Amber Schamel