Have No Fear
Topic: Persecution Passage: Matthew 10:26–10:33
The 1550s in England were a very difficult time for Christians there. Mary of Tutor was the queen and she was not called Bloody Mary for nothing. She regularly had Protestants burned at the stake for their faith.
Foxes Book of Martyrs records many of their stories of fearlessness and bravery in the face of imminent death.
If you don’t have this book, you should absolutely get it. It’s one of the best books that I own. You should read this book. It will strengthen your faith.
One such story contained in this book is a Mrs. Prest. We only know her last name. She was living during this severe time of persecution there in England and she stood her ground for Christ. When the time of her execution grew near, Fox records what her disposition was:
“There was perhaps something simply ludicrous in the form of Mrs. Prest, as she was of a very short stature, thick set, and about fifty-four years of age; but her countenance was cheerful and lively, as if prepared for the day of her marriage with the Lamb. To mock at her form was an indirect accusation of her Creator, who framed her after the fashion He liked best, and gave her a mind that far excelled the transient endowments of perishable flesh. When she was offered money, she rejected it, 'because (said she) I am going to a city where money bears no mastery, and while I am here God has promised to feed me.'"
When sentence was read, condemning her to the flames, she lifted up her voice and praised God, adding, 'This day have I found that which I have long sought." When they tempted her to recant, "That will I not, (said she) God forbid that I should lose the life eternal, for this carnal and short life. I will never turn from my heavenly husband to my earthly husband; from the fellowship of angels to mortal children; and if my husband and children be faithful, then am I theirs. God is my father, God is my mother, God is my sister, my brother, my kinsman; God is my friend, most faithful.'
“Being delivered to the sheriff, she was led by the officer to the place of execution, without the walls of Exeter, called Sothenhey, where again the superstitious priests assaulted her. While they were tying her to the stake, she continued earnestly to exclaim 'God be merciful to me, a sinner!' Patiently enduring the devouring conflagration, she was consumed to ashes, and thus ended a life which in unshaken fidelity to the cause of Christ, was not surpassed by that of any preceding martyr."
We’ll meet her in heaven. What a wonderful day that will be! How is it this woman could have such courage? It is because she knew what Jesus says—“Have no fear of them. Have no fear of these wolves.”
He said in our passage last week— “I’m sending you out in the midst of wolves.” That is a scary thought but Jesus tells us we don’t have to be afraid.
This text has three reasons why we never have to be afraid to stand for Jesus. May God help all of to exhibit that same kind of faith that Mrs. Prest had through our passage today.