Young men ready to die rather than denounce Jesus Christ

Isis line up Christians wearing orange jumpsuits, ready to be executed

They can break my body
They can break my pride
They can cut my head off
And post it up online
But when the morning breaks
It’s Jesus I will see
O my Lord Jesus
In you alone I’m free
 

Dear Friends,

I was moved by the words above, written by Rev. John Young, a Scottish pastor. He wrote them in a song inspired by the last words of one of the Egyptian Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya last month. Before one of the young men was killed, he said, ya Rabbi Yesua, “oh, my Lord Jesus.”

It is difficult to imagine such brutal persecution facing Christians in the twenty-first century. However, it is not surprising. Before going to the cross, Christ warned his disciples in John 16:

they will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

This is exactly what happened in Libya.

It is both moving and encouraging to us, Egyptians and Christians, to know that these young men were ready to give their lives rather than denounce their saviour, Jesus Christ. These men, and those who have been killed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, have demonstrated great faith. Their testimony and the testimonies of their families have been powerful. The families of the Coptic Christians killed in Libya have consistently spoken about love and forgiveness for those who killed their sons.
 
In response to the events in Libya, the Egyptian government has decided to build a new church in Minya, the hometown of the martyrs killed in Libya, and dedicate it to their memory. 

We lift up their families and communities and the whole of the church in the Middle East in prayer, and remember their model of faithfulness to Christ, captured in the words of Rev. Young. I would like to close with the final verse of “Ya Rabbi Yesua:”


They’re asking me to say
My faith is just a lie
They tell me ‘turn away
And I won’t have to die’
But how can I abandon
The one who wouldn’t abandon me
O my Lord Jesus
In you alone I’m free

 
May the Lord bless you.


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