The Apostle John knew Jesus personally, Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna knew John personally.
If you had lived back then, and you knew someone that personally knew one of the disciples that followed Jesus you would have had lots of questions. One of the questions that you might have asked of Polycarp would be “after talking to the Apostle John do you believe in Jesus?” You may not have lived back then, but the question can still be answered and this is the answer.
Polycarp died a martyr’s death as described in this antidote: “When Polycarp was brought before the Governor, the Governor said to him, “Are you a Christian?” Polycarp replied “Yes, I am a follower of Jesus.” “But,” said the governor, “you must renounce Jesus and sacrifice to the idols or I will throw you to the lions and they will tear you limb from limb.” But Polycarp refused. The governor grew angrier and said, “Unless you renounce Jesus, I will have them burn you at the stake.” Polycarp replied, “These eighty and six years have I served my Lord and He never did me any harm, and I cannot deny my Lord and Master now.”[i]
Polycarp understood well the meaning of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and he died for that belief.
Polycarp by his death answers our question. He had a chance to renounce Jesus. Not only did he have a chance, he had more than one chance. With each chance, the governor increased the threat of not only death, but the type of painful death that Polycarp would endure. And yet he remained faithful. Polycarp answered our question with his life.
This is a brother’s testimony in Christ that strengthens our own faith. Iron Sharpens Iron
[i] Torrey, R. A. (1907). Anecdotes and illustrations (83). New York: Fleming H. Revell Co.
Published on Monday, October 31, 2011 @ 6:21 AM CDT