All Saints Day is the day when Christians have traditionally remembered those who have died because of their faith in Jesus Christ, that is, martyrs. While the eve of All Saints Day (Halloween – from “hallow” meaning “saint” and “e’en” meaning evening) has become more prevalent in some circles, this has not always been the case.
From my research, it seems that remembering martyrs began as far back as the third century, sometime around 270 AD. However, we do not know when this remembrance took place. For some, the day to remember martyred believers falls on the Sunday after Pentecost. For the Western church, this day of remembrance falls on November 1.
In honor of All Saints Day, I want to share this story with you. This is an excerpt from one of Becky Lynn Black’s reports about their trips to Ethiopia. The topic is Muslim converts to Christianity in Ethiopia:
The converts know the price of obedience to Christ; it may cost them everything! A young Christian man in the southern region rode the public bus from his town to a new church congregation in another area. Upon his return home, the bus was stopped by Muslims. Everyone was taken off the bus, and before they were allowed back on the bus they were required to recite the Islam statement of faith, â€œThere is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.â€ Everyone on the bus said the statement except this young man. Instead, he said â€œJesus is Lord.â€ They shot him in the head. This happened the first week we arrived in Ethiopia. The cost of discipleship can be very high in Ethiopia.
The people on that public bus probably did not know this young man’s name (and I don’t know his name either), but they knew the name of his Lord. He probably did not teach them in words, and he probably did not preach a sermon, but his actions demonstrated that he was willing to follow his Lord to death. This is the kind of life that I want to life: a life that exalts the name of Jesus above my own name, and a life that preaches the gospel and demonstrates that Jesus is my Lord in my actions as well as my words.
I hope this story of faith and obedience and counting the cost – from today’s world – will encourage you to consider what it means to confess, “Jesus is Lord”. Like this young believer in Ethiopia, are you ready to pay the very high price of discipleship?
May the faith and perseverance of those willing to die because of their faith in Jesus Christ encourage us to live out our faith in Jesus Christ.