Empress Eudoxia, a fifth-century Roman Empress, had quite a dilemma. What to do with John Chrysostom? Chrysostom was a faithful man of God and he feared no earthly rulers. There’s quite an amazing story to tell, but before I do so, take a minute to consider the persecution of Christians. It’s been happening since the birth of the Church.
Have you have faced persecution because of your faith in Jesus? If not, just wait. It’s becoming more and more common as our world advances in its rejection of Jesus and its denial of God’s Word. If you haven’t experienced persecution, you will soon. So, are you prepared to stand strong? It’s tempting to quickly answer with, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13), but are you certain you can do that? It’s important that we all prepare our hearts and our minds.
Knowledge Breeds Strength
The way to prepare is to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and His Word. Increasing biblical knowledge will increase our love for Jesus and will strengthen our faith. It will give us a firm foundation, upon which to stand, and the answers and reasoning we need to be able to defend and share what we believe. Reading and studying God’s Word is key to being prepared to face persecution. Study the Word of God, ponder His promises, and find rest in His strength. The Bible is filled with verses promising that God will be strong when we are weak.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
Proverbs 10:29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he [Jesus] said unto me [Paul], “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, will I [Paul] rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Sufficient Grace = Strength to Stand
Now we come to Eudoxia and Chrysostom. John Chrysostom is a wonderful example of having a great love for Jesus, knowledge of God’s Word, and faith and confidence in God and His promises. Chrysostom exhibited great strength and boldness in the face of persecution and stood strong in his faith. This created quite a dilemma for Empress Eudoxia (b.422 – d.462) when she found herself without any power over the faithful disciple of Christ John Chrysostom.
The exchange of words between Eudoxia and Chrysostom reveals the importance of knowing God’s truths before we are faced with persecution. We must arm ourselves with God’s wisdom before the attacks of the world come and before Satan confronts us. The Word of God is the most powerful weapon we have and it will protect us when we are persecuted.
John Chrysostom was appointed the Archbishop of Constantinople in 397. His name means “golden-mouthed” and he was well known for his public speaking and preaching. Sometime in the early 5th century (circa 404), the Empress Eudoxia removed him from his position and threatened to banish him if he continued as a Christian preacher. History records the following conversation:
“You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house,” said John.
“But I will kill you,” the Empress said.
“No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God.”
“I will take away your treasures,” said Eudoxia.
“No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”
“But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left,” Eudoxia responded.
“No, you cannot,” said John, “for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you. For there is nothing you can do to harm me.”
What a dilemma for the Empress. Despite her position and authority, she found herself to be without any real power over John Chrysostom. His hope, his faith, and his strength were not anchored in this world, but rather in a Person much more powerful than any earthly ruler. Chrysostom used eloquent words boldly, and in doing so he challenged Eudoxia’s efforts to control him. There was nothing she could take from him because his life is hid in Christ, his treasures are stored up in Heaven, and Jesus is his ever-present friend.
Where Did Chrysostom Find Such Courage?
Chrysostom’s words came directly from his knowledge and understanding of the Word of God. Just as Jesus quoted Scripture during the wilderness temptations, Chrysostom’s answers to Eudoxia’s threats came from the Scripture.
Reread their exchange of words. I have added Scripture references to illustrate that his boldness of speech was backed up by biblical truths that he had hidden in his heart and called upon in the face of persecution.
Chrysostom: “You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father’s house.”
Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
1 Corinthians 10:26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.
Eudoxia: “But I will kill you.”
Chrysostom: “No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God,” said John.
Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Eudoxia: “I will take away your treasures.”
Chrysostom: “No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”
Matthew 6:20-21 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Eudoxia: “But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left.”
Chrysostom: “No, you cannot, for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me.”
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Oh, that all Christians would be so bold, when persecuted, and would answer with such words of confidence. This is a beautiful lesson about the importance of hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). When we read and study the Bible, and commit to memory God’s words, we are strengthened to face all things in life. The words of the Holy Bible will prepare us to be ready to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15) that will deflect the attacks of an unbelieving world.
Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)
Pick up your Bible and claim the blessings that are already given to you. Strengthen yourself in the Word of God and prepare to face life, both trials and good times, with the Word of God. Live by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through you.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
SHARE THE GOSPEL!
The Top Ten Power of Hope Articles from 2018
- JESUS WEPT. Why? And…it’s not the shortest verse in the Bible!
- The GATE OF THE YEAR: A Message to a Troubled Nation
- TWO WOMEN—Two Stories—Two Songs
- “LAUGHTER is the Best Medicine” Who Said That?
- The WIZARD OF OZ and God
- Following the Good, Great, and Chief SHEPHERD
- The best EULOGY to remember a father!
- ISRAEL Celebrates 70 YEARS As A Nation & the Significance for Christians
- HELLO DARKNESS, My Old Friend: The Sounds of Silence
- CHARLIE BROWN THEOLOGY
Our Ministry’s Two Favorite Articles from 2018:
Facing Terminal Cancer with Hope & Joy
When the Battle is Lost but the Victory is Won — Saying Goodbye to a Friend
The Top Ten Got Questions? Articles from 2018
- The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
- The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
- Is my TATTOO a sin?
- What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
- What Does It Mean to TASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
- Where did OT Saints go at death?ABRAHAM'S BOSOM? Where was that?
- Why Does the LGBT Use God’s Rainbow For Its Flag?
- Should we call HIS NAME Jesus? Or Yahweh?Or Yeshua?
- Jesus said, I NEVER KNEW YOU. Why?
- CanJEWS go to HEAVEN without knowing Jesus?
Other Popular Questions:
- Something ALL Christians must know: IVDARR
- Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER? Or Should We Call Him Satan?
- If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Baptized Again?
- Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
- Why Is PRAYER Important?
- Is There a Hidden Message in Revelation 7?
- What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS?
- Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?
- What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
- Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?
Top Three Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
- Christian Version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah
- Memorial Day Bagpipes Tribute: Amazing Grace
- Psalm 34 – Taste and See That the Lord is Good
Reasons for Hope* Jesus is a non-profit, donor-supported ministry.
PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING REASONS FOR HOPE* JESUS.
A donation of any amount is helpful and greatly appreciated.
You Can Make a Difference:
Visit our Store