Revelation 6:9-11 “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer…”
What is a martyr? A martyr is a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs. Christopher Paolini states “So the question becomes, If you are ever faced with this choice are you willing to die for what you believe in? For that is the only way you will deny him. It’s a difficult question and not one you can answer until you’re faced with it. Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.” A persecuted leader in the underground church said, “once you experience Jesus, once you truly know his love, you are forever touched, forever changed. Nothing will ever be the same.” John writes, “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.” The souls who have been slain are the martyr’s that are crying out for justice. TS Eliot writes, “a martyr is, he who has become the instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God. The martyr no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of martyrdom.” God makes the promise that He will avenge the martyr’s death. Peter, the disciple who was crucified for his faith writes, “So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” Don’t miss this, the martyrs were given white robes and told, “to wait a little longer…” The martyrs’ white robes signify their purity. The robes were likely long, flowing robes, the kind that was worn at celebrations. God’s vengeance is not a celebration. God’s victory over sin and death is the celebration worth waiting a little longer for. Don’t forget the angel at the tomb on Resurrection Sunday was wearing a white robe.
Pray for courage this morning. Pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith around the world. Pray for God’s protection. Pray for the persecuted church. Pray for God’s mercy and peace. I’m praying for you during these 21 days of prayer to experience Jesus and know His love so that you will be forever changed. Go, God!