Why did the people of the early church believe so strongly in Jesus and the offer of forgiveness and eternity so deeply they were willing to be killed because of it? Because they had eye-witness accounts of His ministry and most of all their account of His resurrection from the grave! What He endured for our atonement was enough to kill any man within a few hours if not before He was nailed to the cross. He wasn’t finished yet so He stayed alive until it was finished and when it was, He said so, “It is finished!”, and He gave up His Spirit. No one took His life, no one killed Jesus, He died when He was finished and He gave it up willingly.
If someone today had the message which He brought so long ago and they were being filmed for TV and someone shot them three times in front of the country, killing them. Then before the autopsy could be finished, they got up and showed themselves to the doctors and nurses and the world…would you believe in them as the Messiah? This very scene will play out one day but it won’t be Jesus but a false savior when it does happen. If you haven’t given your heart to Jesus then you will possibly see this “false savior” who would claim to be the so-called “savior of the world”. This person is the anti-Christ, the false Messiah and he will deceive many who are alive on that day.
The resurrection of Jesus is such a powerful witness that many people would die for their faith in Him and His promise of eternity. Life was in Him, true eternal life not some promise made by “just a man”. If you have access to a copy of the Book of Martyrs I would encourage you to read it. It is not an easy read because some of the descriptions are very graphic. But the people that you read about beginning with Stephen and continuing on into our present day had their hope in Jesus and they believed in Jesus for their Savior so deeply that they were willing to go through being crucified or burned alive or trampled by animals or killed and eaten by wild animals. No one dies willingly for a lie. God loves each of us and we have a message to take to the world. That message is: He is risen and alive! His Word is true and He is coming back one day soon, Amen.