Church History Friday!
Polycarp: Discipled by a Disciple
The early 2nd century was an important time in Christian history. The last of the original twelve apostles had died and a new generation of strong church leaders had to rise, if Christianity was to survive. The early church was vulnerable in many ways during this transition in leadership. If heretical or compromising ministers filled the void left by the apostles, the church would die.
We can thank God that He used a humble man called Polycarp to bridge the gap as a faithful servant of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Polycarp was born around 70 A.D. in the Roman province which today is the nation of Turkey.
Polycarp became a Christian as a young man, and he was converted by the apostle John. In fact, Polycarp was discipled by John until his death. For the rest of his life, Polycarp loved to remember and talk about all the times the apostle John gave him eye witness accounts of living with Jesus.
Can you imagine being discipled by the beloved disciple of Jesus himself? It must have been fascinating to hear about living with Jesus while he walked this Earth. Polycarp must have hung on every word, as John described the miracles that he saw Christ perform. The lessons from Jesus that John gave to Polycarp stayed in his mind and heart.
Polycarp was famous for his passionate life of teaching and living the scriptures before a hostile world. Could later Christians also say the same about you and me? John ordained Polycarp as the pastor of the church in Smyrna, where he faithfully lived until the year 155. Then, at the age of 86, Polycarp was arrested and given the death sentence for refusing to worship the Roman emperor as a god.
Polycarp was an amazing witness for Christ as he was burned alive. He said, “Eighty and six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? You threaten me with a fire that burns for a season and after a little while is quenched; but you are ignorant of the fire of everlasting punishment that is prepared for the wicked.” What a mighty testimony!
Today's Devotional was contributed by Mr. Stephen Nobles.
(The Ephesus Baptist Church Pastoral Ministry Intern)
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