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Lives of Christian Martyrs Changed my Friend's Life by Richard Palumbo

The Crucifixion of St. Andrew

I had a friend who became a Christian in his adulthood.  I asked him what made him change his mind and accept Jesus. He was scornful of the Bible during his college years, but having married a Christian, he noticed she behaved differently given the stresses in life.  He said the most convincing argument came not from the Gospel message at first, but how it affected those who believed it.  He was interested in history, so he did some research into the lives of the apostles. He found the following:

  • Peter, Andrew, Jude and Simon were crucified.
  • Matthew was impaled into the ground and beheaded.
  • Bartholomew was whipped to death.
  • Thomas died of a spear wound.
  • Phillip was hung like a side of beef with hooks in his heels.
  • James the son of Zebedee was beheaded by King Herod.
  • Mattias was stoned and beheaded.
  • James the half-brother of Jesus and James the Less were dropped from the temple.
  • Paul was beheaded.
  • John, the beloved disciple, died of old age after serving time on a lonely island.

He asked himself, “Why would all these people be willing to die such horrible deaths for their faith if the Gospel message was not true?’

C.S. Lewis and Ravi Zacharias, two apologists much more able than I, have said: the argument is that Jesus is either lunatic, liar, or Lord.  He can be only one of the three. If Jesus was a lunatic or liar, how many of the apostles would be executed before the rest gave it up and went back to their professions?  The fact that they all followed Jesus to the end of their lives was the testimony my friend needed to believe in the message of Jesus. It is testimony to the power that one receives when they ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” In this day and age, it appears that consuming goods and living for entertainment is what life is all about.  In the quiet moments of life, it may be worthwhile to ponder the question of what was so great about Jesus that all the disciples gave their lives along with countless others throughout history. We all have to answer the question of what is worth living for and what is worth dying for.

This is written by church member, Richard Palumbo.  To connect with Richard please email him at 


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