Friends, I want to bring you part two of Jeff Landis’s message on Death to Self.
Colossians 3:2-4 says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
Let’s see what Jeff has to share with us now.
Picking up the cross has special meaning for me. For those of you who don’t know me, I have spiritual roots in the Mennonite Church. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the Mennonite Church, they came out of the Anabaptist movement in Europe during the Reformation in the 16th century.
The Anabaptists took seriously the call of Christ to pick up the cross. Many of them were severely persecuted. Many were burned at the stake, stretched on the rack, and drowned in the river. It was even legal to hunt Anabaptists in the same way that one hunted small game. They were legal prey. And why the persecution? The Anabaptists embraced believer’s baptism. In other words, they didn’t practice infant baptism. Needless to say, the Catholic Church and even some Protestant Reformers considered this heresy. Thus the persecution. It would have been easy for the Anabaptists to just give in, but they believed strongly in discipleship and the way of the cross. And, incredibly, they forgave through it all!
One of the last recorded martyrs of the Anabaptists was actually one of my ancestors. His name was Hans Landis and he was a pastor in Zurich, Switzerland. He was captured and escaped on more than one occasion. His crime? He would not adhere to the teachings of the state church. His last capture took place in December of 1613. Unswerving in his belief, he was given the option to emigrate. However, he refused based on the fact that the earth was the Lord’s and that no one had the right to send anyone out of the country.
After being questioned one last time on the rack, Hans Landis was finally beheaded on September 30, 1614. Upon the executioner’s request for Han’s forgiveness, Han’s replied that he already had, and that he had asked God to forgive him as well. He was 70 years old. Perhaps now you can understand why the call of Jesus to pick up the cross has special meaning to me. It’s in my spiritual DNA.
Thank you for reading along with me, and I pray that you may be encouraged to embrace the cross.
Let me also invite you to read further reflections on my blog sight, http://the-word-of-truth.com/. God bless you richly!
Jeff Landis lives in Manheim Pa and is married to Karen, his wife of 35 years! They have 3 children of which 2 are married. Jeff graduated from Eastern Mennonite Seminary with an MDiv in 1984. He is a passionate lover of God and a gifted teacher who desires to see the body of Christ walk in true holiness. He currently is licensed under Life Center Ministries in Harrisburg and leads a Friday night prayer watch with the focus of prayer for revival. He fervently believes that II Chron. 7:12 is the key to revival: “If the Church in America will humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face, then will God hear from heaven and heal the land” There is no lack on God’s end. He is waiting the church in America to awake to her destiny of purity and Righteousness.