For many, the spine-chilling video released by ISIS on February 15, 2015, will be forever seared in our minds.
But imagine being the mother of one of these 21 men who was kidnapped from Sirte, Libya and subsequently beheaded for refusing to deny his Christian faith. How your heart would break to watch your own son be brutally murdered by an army of pure evil and put on display for the world to see.
But for one mother, she sees this brutal video with a quite different perspective—an eternal one. In fact, she recently expressed to Egyptian Anglican Archbishop Mouneer Anis that she is incredibly proud of her two sons for dying faithfully and refusing to deny Jesus before taking their last breath.
While it was torturous to watch them be slain by the hand of the jihadists, she was comforted in knowing they would have everlasting life after death.
“I gave my two sons to Jesus,” she said. “I thank my God that my two sons did not denounce Jesus; it is an honour and privilege that they died faithful.”
The migrant workers killed were Coptic Christians from various Egyptian villages. They were recorded declaring “Oh, Lord Jesus” repeatedly as ISIS was slitting their throats, using their final breaths to declare allegiance to the one true God.
The Islamic State earlier said the murder was to “avenge the [alleged] kidnapping of Muslim women by the Egyptian Coptic Church.”
At the conclusion of the video, they flashed this message: “The filthy blood is just some of what awaits you, in revenge for Camelia and her sisters.”
According to Anis, though these men were no renown theologians, their simple faith was still unshakable.
“They were ordinary labourers with no theological education, but they were not going to denounce Jesus,” he said.
Anis referred to these men as part of the “faithful remnant” that was left in the current state of Christians in the Anglican Communion.
In a privileged country where Christianity can be shown freely, it can be easy to forget the persecution that so many face to practice the faith we take for granted. Let these great men be a sobering reminder to us all of what it really means to take up our cross and follow Jesus.