The Perpetua Story

This morning at Faith Church, Pastor Devin Ryckman spoke about putting Jesus ahead of everyone else in our lives. That includes ourselves, our families, our careers, everything. It sounds like a tall order, but Jesus’ own words verify our need to put Jesus first.

When you think about the brevity of our lives down here, vs. the length and reward of eternity, that choice seems easy to make. But then, thinking about how much we love our spouse, children, extended family and friends, it can make for a difficult decision. Perhaps it is something we should all consider, as these days ahead may require each of us to choose what we value most in life.

Here is what Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-40 (TLB)…

“32 Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.
34 Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
35 I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’
37 If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.

38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.
39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
40 Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me.”

These are challenging words on first read. Is Jesus asking us not to love our family? No, not at all! But acknowledging Jesus as Saviour and Lord can put you at odds with those who don’t agree, who don’t love Jesus, sometimes even family members.

Jesus brought us”Peace With God.” If we accept Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins, we are no longer separated from God because of sin. When we trust in Jesus, God no longer judges us for our sins. Jesus took that judgment and paid the penalty our sins deserved. So thanks to Jesus, God’s Son, we have peace with God, and we actually become children of God, adopted into His own family. He is now our Heavenly Father. Happy Father’s Day, Heavenly Papa! 🙂

In the past couple thousand years since Jesus came to Earth, millions of Christians have died for their faith in Jesus. They were often forced to choose between worshipping the false gods and tyrants of this world’s religions, or Jesus. Their choice was to renounce their faith in Jesus and live out their life on Earth, OR acknowledge Jesus as their Saviour and Lord at the cost of their lives, imprisonment, or persecution of some type. When Jesus came, He did not promise to bring us “Peace With Other People”. That will happen someday in Heaven. Sometimes for those who love Jesus, it brings a “sword” (i.e. others direct hate, animosity, persecution and sometimes even worse toward Christians for their faith in Jesus).

Thank you, Pastor Devin for prompting us to think about our level of love for Jesus. God may not require us to die for our faith and love for Jesus, but it is something we should prepare for. This choice is being required of millions of Christians around the world today. Just check out www.opendoorscanada.org to find out more.

Here is a moving animated version of the gripping story of “Perpetua“, which Pastor Devin shared from the Book of Martyrs he was reading. “Perpetua” a young Christian woman, with a baby, had to make the choice to love Jesus over the love of her child and her family. It is a gripping story which takes place in Carthage, North Africa, a Roman province, in the year 203 AD, many years after Jesus returned to Heaven. In the video I thought it was so special that Jesus gave Perpetua a dream of Heaven, which she would soon enter, to encourage her in making the choice that she did.

Enjoy the video, and may God help us all to love Jesus above ourselves, all others, and above all things.

It is the year AD 203 in Carthage, North Africa. Perpetua, an affluent young mother, is charged with converting to Christianity and is sent to prison. But her freedom can be secured easily. All she has to do is offer one pinch of incense in honor to the Roman gods. What will her decision be? This episode of Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith presents one of the most influential, true stories of the Early Church. Torchlighters is a series of animated programs for youth ages 8-12, presenting the lives of true-life heroes from Christian history. When kids see what God can do through a “Torchlighter” who is devoted to carrying out His will and purposes, they too may want to carry a torch of faith by serving Him.

This video is courtesy of “Vision Video”, and is produced by “The Voice of the Martyrs.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.