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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Christians are to let their light shine before men so that people will glorify God in heaven as they observe their good works.

But there is another manner in which Christians of the 1st century were affiliated with the term lamp. The association is with torture. Tacitus, a Roman historian, describes what the wicked emperor Nero did to innocent Christians as he blamed them for the great fire of Rome that took place in approximately 64 A.D.

“…the confessed member of the sect (Christians) were arrested; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race. And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts’ skins and torn to death by dogs or they were fastened on crosses, and when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night.”

The Christians of the first century suffered for their faith. All they would have needed to do to avoid being torn to shreds by dogs or burned on a cross was to deny Christ. Their life would have been comfortable if they had kept silent about Jesus the Risen Lord, but their faith would not let them do so. The 1st century Christians could not stop speaking about Jesus (Acts 4:29).

The crowds looked at them in shame, but these followers of Jesus must have been very proud.

Today we are not faced with life or death decisions like they were. The most that would happen to us is someone might try to hurt our feelings or make fun of us. Yet, we hold back. Let’s surrender to Jesus with reckless abandonment. Let’s work harder at being the church Jesus built.


Brokenness is realizing He is all we have.
Hope is realizing He is all we need.
Joy is realizing He is all we want.

Larry Crabb—The Safest Place on Earth