Honoring the Persecuted Church

Honoring the Persecuted Church

On this day, May 23, in the Year of our Lord 1498, the Italian revivalist Girolamo Savonarola was hung in the city square. As the hangman placed the noose around his neck, Savonarola spoke his final words: “The Lord has suffered so much for me.” His body was then hung. We share this story today in honor of the persecuted church.

Savonarola was born one of seven children in a wealthy Italian household. To follow Christ, he walked away from a lucrative medical career.

He soon began to encounter the manifest presence of Christ in signs, miracles, visions, and prophecies. He frequently saw heaven and preached holiness, repentance, and social justice. His spiritual authority began to grow and so did social opposition.

When Savonarola preached repentance to society, he was emboldened by the Roman Church, but when he called the church to repentance, he was seen as a threat. The enormous crowds he drew in open-air preaching grew significantly. He named sins of both heterosexual and homosexual immorality, and masses of people, particularly young people, responded in repentance.

When the Pope tried to shut him down publically, Savonarola turned to writing several strong books, including The Triumph of the Cross. 

On April 7, they tried to burn him at the stake, but a sudden rainstorm miraculously stopped proceedings. On May 23, however, he was finally hung with his two fellow preachers. Their bodies were burned and their ashes spread throughout the region.

Lord Jesus Christ, embolden your persecuted church today to stand their ground and not deny their faith.

© Fred A. Hartley, III  
All rights reserved
Unless otherwise indicated, the English Standard Bible (ESV) is used.

This daily Christ-encountering, fire-starter is not intended to replace your daily Bible reading and prayer time, but rather to motivate you to spend extended time in His presence.
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