Mark 15:15 (NIV)
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Thomas Kozaki was born in 1582 in Ise, Japan. His father Michael was a carpenter and a Christian. Michael met some Franciscan missionaries and he helped build the Franciscan convents and churches of Kyoto and Osaka.
In 1596, fourteen year old Thomas was an altar boy. The Japanese ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi wanted to rid Japan of Christians and he ordered their arrest. In Kyoto and Osaka, twenty-six Christians, including Michael and Thomas, were arrested. They each had a piece of their left ear cut off, and then paraded from city to city, traveling more than 400 miles.
For weeks a man shouted their crimes and encouraged their abuse. The arrested priests and brothers were accused of preaching the outlawed faith of Christianity, the laity of supporting and aiding them. They were each repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity. They each declined. The twenty-six were crucified on February 5, 1597 at Tateyama (Hill of Wheat), in Nagasaki, Japan.
Prior to his death, Thomas wrote a touching letter to his mother. In it he says: "Remember also the innumerable blessings bestowed by the Lord Jesus Christ. As everything of this world can be lost soon, even if you might become poor and have to beg for food from people, please take care not to lose the glory of paradise. No matter what people may say to you, please forbear with patience and love to the end."
Jesus loved the world that He laid down His life for it will you be faithful to the end?
Dear Lord, thank You for Your love. We pray today that no matter how hard it seems to be that we will stay faithful to You just as You are faithful to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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