In one of the most widely read books among Christians the last 500 years, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, the author, John Fox, takes great care to record the deaths of Christian martyrs from the 1st through 16th centuries. He tells how Christians were flung to the lions, wrapped in pitch (tar) and burned, sewed in animal skins and torn to death by hunting dogs, tortured on racks, and burned to death by molten iron. They were accused of eating each other, participating in orgies, setting fires to cities, inciting political unrest, and breaking up families. His graphic, historical accounts confirm what Jesus taught His disciples about the persecutions they could expect for being His followers. It is a teaching introduced in a passage known as the Beatitudes. We come to the last Beatitudes today and consider the final trait we should treasure-suffering for Jesus.
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