A Cloud of Witnesses Shows Us How to Run the Race of Life

Although most of our loved ones were not martyred for their faith, they too are our “heroes of the faith,” persevering through all kinds of sufferings, persecutions, and trials in this world. They too counted themselves as merely pilgrims and strangers in this world, but now reside in their homeland—a better city and country.

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 53:3-6; 10-12; Hebrews 12:1-15; Hebrews 12:1-2 (text)
October 24, 2010

Introduction

Burning of Latimer and Ridley, from John Foxe's book (1563)
Burning of Latimer and Ridley, from John Foxe's book (1563)

On October 16, 1555, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer, two English Protestant scholar-ministers, died as martyrs. They were condemned to be burned at the stake during the reign of Roman Catholic queen, Mary Tudor, widely known today as Bloody Mary because some 300 believers were martyred during her 5-year reign. Four months later, Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the English church, also suffered the same death at the stake.

As the fire started burning under them, Latimer says to his friend Ridley, “Be of good courage, master Ridley, and play the man, for we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” Ridley then says in a loud voice, “Lord, receive my spirit!” Latimer in turn prays, “O Father of heaven, receive my soul.”

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