Human Torches

In 64 A.D., the psychopathic Roman emperor Nero blamed a great fire in Rome on a growing group of individuals called the Christians. These falsely accused were followers of a man who had been crucified about 3 decades prior for claiming to be the Son of God. Nero needed someone to blame and the Christians seemed to be an easy target. He had many of them tarred and burned alive on stakes to act as human torches for homebound Roman soldiers. Their only means of escaping death was to deny Jesus Christ as the Lord of all they claimed He was. Their refusal to do so converted many to the faith. It was a terrifying experience even for the citizens of Rome who were used to being entertained by death and violence.

What kept these early Christians from giving in? Imagine someone storming your workplace, home or even church and pointing a gun to your head. Would you be willing to do the same? Many elsewhere in the world still do today. Why?

The answer lies in a deep decision for Christ that was made beforehand. Without it, they never could have stood amidst persecution. This decision, however, infiltrated the rest of their lives, even in facing death.

The reason many Christians constantly struggle with sin in their lives is because of this same decision. Christianity is some religion that they attach to their life like a country club membership. Jesus doesn’t ask to just be a part of your life. He wants the whole thing. Lord means ruler.

For these early followers, Christ was the center. Only when our focus is there will the rest fall into place. Then we’ll be less likely to fall because our desire will be to avoid slippery places. The early Christians understood this… and nothing else mattered… not what other’s thought or did, only Jesus. If called upon, they were even willing to die. Would you be?

Scott A. Hescht
Psalm 22 Ministries

Author: Scott Hescht

I serve as the lead Pastor of the Haven Community Church. My wife Courtney and I have two children, Zane and Daxton. I love reading, writing, graphic design, and pretty much all things creative. Bring up the topic of sports and you’ve got a friend for life. I also love to teach and preach God’s Word to anyone who will listen. I strive to be a constant learner as well, understanding that education isn’t something that we receive, but rather a lifelong journey. Above all, I strive to be a friend to those around me, seeking to be a light for Christ despite my own shortcomings.
I have a BFA at Stephen F. Austin State University and a MA in Christian Leadership at Luther Rice Seminary. Prior to establishing The Haven in 2012, I have served as a pastor at Life Spring Church and an elder at Freedom Fellowship Church. In addition to pastoring the Haven, I serve on the board for Relationships for Christ Ministries, a missions organization working in Africa and Latin America.

2 Responses to "Human Torches"

  1. Anonymous Posted on September 2, 2006 at 12:57 am

    Thank you. I’ve been feeling defeated and alone. I found your site by googling “Psalm 22” knowing that this was the Psalm of despair.

    I’ve been wondering where God is. And now I see that I MUST seek Him with all my heart, putting Him first. The consequences if I don’t are catastrophic. He’s all I have.

    Again, thank you. Your words of truth encouraged me.

  2. Joel Price Posted on September 2, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    Hey Scott,

    I saw this link at the bottom of the e-mail reply you sent earlier and I decided to check-out the website. I love the no-hype, solid content of the site. Please tell me more about the church (approach, size, ss verse family integration, etc.). I am currently in a situation where I teach at a large church but am really discouraged by the whole mega-church mentality and am grieved by a system seemingly designed to serve the seeker at all cost and only give lip service to the disciple. I was really encouraged by this site and look forward to meeting with you and Dan in the coming weeks for the SF class.
    Joel Price

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