Why Did The Disciples Choose To Die As Martyrs?


Why did the apostles choose to suffer a martyrs death? If Christ died once and for all for our sins, and bore all the suffering of mankind, why did they feel the need to be martyred? They were the closest to Christ, so shouldn’t they have best understood Christ’s message of “it is finished”? I don’t understand why they didn’t preach in hiding like what takes place in Muslim and communist countries today. It sounds like they believed in redemptive suffering- a Catholic concept.


Something, perhaps the Lord’s instructions, prompted the disciples to teach openly like He had. The authorities gave them the choice to either deny their faith or be killed, but they refused to re-cant. The only one who didn’t die a martyr’s death was John, and that’s only because the authorities were unable to kill him, though it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Their deaths were not thought of as redemptive, in that they weren’t intended to add to the Lord’s completed work. But they were a powerful witness of the truth of the Gospel. Christian martyrdom was not unique to them and went on for 250 years in the Roman Empire. Untold thousands joyfully gave their lives in service to the Lord. Even in our time over one hundred believers give their lives every day rather than deny the Gospel.