(Rev 2:13) . . . Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you . . .
Antipas was a martyr in the church of Smyrna. We don’t know much about him, only what’s written in the book of Revelation. Jesus makes mention of this man Antipas and calls him faithful. We can think of other martyrs as well such as Stephen (Acts 7) and others who throughout history have given their lives for the cause of Christ.
What is a martyr? It is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as, “a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle”. This doesn’t sound like our generation today does it? But we can think of a time in the history of our nation where people laid their lives down for principle. And that principle was to keep our great country free. People are generally not principled today in America because they have no principle to live by. We rejected prayer and Bible reading from the schools in the 1960's and from that moment on we rejected principle. But our country is still something worth fighting for and we need to keep in mind all the principled men and women who laid down their lives for America’s values and freedoms. Like Antipas, these who fought and lost their lives for our country were faithful. They had faith, they had principle, and when the going got rough they laid their lives down for what they believed in.
People believe in self these days. “Me” is number one so how can you lay your life down for that? That’s too personal and self-sacrificing. There would be nothing left for self after that because there would be no self. What a waste of living if you have nothing to die for!
Are you willing to lay your life down for Christ? How can we even think about dying for Christ if we have a hard time living for him? How could we ever safeguard America when our loyalties are wrapped up in self-pursuits? We can take a good lesson from the martyrs of old and all those who spilled their blood to secure the blessed freedoms we now enjoy. May God forgive us as a nation for spoiling His original intent for which our country was founded. And may we return to a righteous and forgiving God, honor Him in our living, and if necessary, die for Him and for the righteous cause He has placed upon our nation. In memory for the great ones who gave their lives we say this day . . . may God bless America!