by Jordan from Texas
In the second century, a man named Polycarp set an example to all Christians, and has been my hero in particular ever since I learned of him. A disciple and even close friend of John the Apostle, he traveled to the far ends of the Roman Empire to spread the word of Christ. Because of this, the government desired his death in order to prevent the spreading of “heresy” and “rebellion.” When Roman soldiers finally did find him, he did not resist in any way; instead, he set a feast before them and asked for one hour to pray undisturbed. Afterwards, he stood trial before the proconsul. Polycarp was threatened with all sorts of cruel deaths if he did not curse Christ, but did not fear. Instead, he said, “How can I blaspheme my King who saved me” (149)? Polycarp died by fire because he would not hail Caesar as a god.
This quiet and unshakable faith has always spoken to me. Polycarp did not scream or yell. He was not a fanatic in the streets waving a sign for reform. He simply said that Jesus was his Lord, and he would have none other. The soldiers came to take him to certain death, yet he welcomed them with open arms and gave them a feast. The proconsul threatened him, but he did not fear. He welcomed death, because he considered that God gave him an honor. Often, I have wondered if I could do the same, under similar circumstances.
Polycarp is a hero to me because he had the faith to trust in God, even when threatened with a painful death. He confessed Jesus as his Savior without fear, because he loved Christ without reserve. He trusted that Christ would be with him even through the worst of it. He confidently believed that God would fulfill his promise of everlasting life. By his example, I am encouraged not to let small daily temptations cause me to stumble. How could I, when Polycarp was tempted so much more, and did not give in? Polycarp is my hero because of his steadfast faith and unwavering love of Christ.