A soldier for the emperor ... or for Christ?
Marinus was up for a promotion. With the vacant position of centurion, he seemed the right man for the job. But knowing Marinus was a Christian and thus undeserving of the promotion, another soldier complained. Besides, Marinus refused to take the pagan oath, as required by all Roman soldiers. Therefore, he had no business receiving such an honour.
A Roman judge had Marinus brought before him and asked him if he was indeed a Christian.
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
The official gave Marinus three hours to change his mind.
Word spread of Marinus’ predicament. The bishop went to see him and took him to the church.
“Which will you choose?” asked the bishop. “The book of life, where your name will be written as a soldier of the Heavenly King, or the sword, by which you serve an earthly king?”
Marinus reached out and took hold of the sacred text.
“Adhere steadfastly then to God,” said the bishop, “and He will strengthen you ....”
Marinus was brought before the official and confessed that he had made his choice: follow Jesus. Immediately, he was led away and beheaded.
What followed angered the Romans. A well-known senator named Asterius, who had great favour with the Roman emperors, was so overcome by Marinus’ martyrdom that he wrapped Marinus’ bloodied body and severed head in his cloak, carried the martyr on his soldiers, and gave him a proper burial. For this, Asterius too was beheaded.
The courage of one man’s martyrdom caused a Roman senator to lose his life. How contagious is your courage?