“They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated, the world was not worthy of them.” (Heb. 11:37–38)
This is a very sad time in Egypt. We are in seven days of official mourning for the 21 young Christian men who were brutally slaughtered by ISIS in Libya on Sunday. The gruesome, professionally produced video of that execution shocked the country and has united Christians and Muslims as never before. As soon as the video was broadcast on Sunday evening, the president delivered a speech declaring seven days of mourning for the nation. Shortly afterward, the Egyptian Air Force bombed ISIS targets in Libya.
As I arrived at the Bible Society office the next morning, feeling sad and depressed, I met a young coworker who told me she was “very encouraged.” I couldn’t imagine what on earth could encourage her! She explained:
I am encouraged, because now I know that what we’ve been taught in history books about Egyptian Christians being martyred for their faith isn’t just history but that there are Christians today who are brave enough to face death rather than deny their Lord! When I saw those young men praying as they were being prepared for execution, and then many of them shouting “O Lord Jesus” as their throats were being slit, I realized the gospel can still help us to hold onto the promises of God even when facing death.