It was the last word on her lips before she was murdered. The only word that mattered.
The name above all names.
Blessed Redeemer. Emmanuel.
A moment of Holiness in the midst of the heinous.
Witnesses to her murder said she was smiling. Yes, smiling…as she whispered, “Jesus”. Then she was beheaded. Her crime? She was a Christian in Syria. She identified as a follower of Jesus Christ. Her love for Him sentenced her to death.
But, something she knew, that her killers did not understand…..could not understand…….her faithfulness to her Savior meant that death could not separate her from the love of Christ. To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. I have no doubt that she is with Him right now, in His presence….now and forevermore. She is more alive today than she ever was here on Earth.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
As a Christian in the United States of America, my faith has never been a life or death matter. I don’t know what it feels like to be persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, to lose all my possessions, and yes, to be murdered for my belief in Jesus Christ. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but one day it might. I used to think being a Christian was safe……..
“What is your religion? Do you believe in God?” Yes. I’m a Christian. “Good, because you’re gonna meet Him in one second.” What started out as a typical school day at a local community college ended in tragedy. I daresay that none of those murdered expected that, that day was going to be the day they died. When they got up that morning, none of them knew what lay ahead for them.
But, when it came down to it, when their very lives were on the line, they said, “Yes”. I’m sure they were scared….terrified. I don’t know what it was like in that classroom in Oregon, but in their final moments I have to believe they knew. They understood that identifying with Jesus meant their death. Rather than deny their Savior they said, “YES”.
Christians murdered on foreign soil. Christians murdered in my own country. All of us, brothers and sisters in Christ. Although the thought of this is scary, if I should ever be put to the test, I pray that I would remain faithful to the very end.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 ESV