The Bible says there were many people who died while preaching the gospel because they loved the Lord and their neighbors. They all died of thirst for preaching the gospel. The apostle Paul knew he would die in Jerusalem, but he didn’t try to avoid death. He told the people who tried to stop him going to Jerusalem, “Only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23~24)
The apostle Paul died in Rome because he longed to preach the gospel in accordance with his mission and the Lord’s command, even though he was persecuted and put into jail and flogged.
According to tradition, Peter was crucified upside down. It was because he was burning with passion for winning souls who were doomed to destruction because they didn’t know about Jesus. He wanted to tell such people about Jesus, the Savior.
Thomas also preached the gospel in East India until he was speared to death. He really wanted to lead unbelievers to Heaven, ranking this as more important than his life. Andrew died on the Cross. He tried to help people clear up their misunderstanding about Jesus up to time of his death. He was eager to save souls even in his suffering and pain. Likewise, God uses those who hunger and thirst for the Lord’s work.
When Jesus was on the Cross, he shed his blood and water at the last. After that, Jesus said “I am thirsty.” (John 19: 28) I bet Jesus felt burning thirst and suffering because he had shed lots of blood and water, and that the ground was really wet. Despite his extreme pain, Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:24) He was trying to win the souls who were destined to die, living under sins, not knowing Jesus.
Pastor Seok-Jeon Yoon
Extracted from Yonsei Newspaper #631