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The 4th Century Monk Who Changed a Nation

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

In the 4th Century A.D. there was a simple monk who was short in stature and lived a simple life tending his garden. Known for his humble ways he lived in the cloistered setting of a monastery (Eastern Roman Empire) where he would pray, and study, and tend his vegetable garden.

Then one day the monk, named Telemachus, heard God speak to him and tell him, “Go to Rome, I have a work for you to do in Rome.” Startled by this surprising message, the monk named Telemachus pondered what it would be like to leave the simply monastery and go to the busiest city of the world, the capital, the wealthy and decadent Rome!

Unable to fight God’s direction he set off for the unknown. Arriving at Rome he was shocked by how many people crowded its streets and seething mass of humanity. By and by he was swept along with a large crowd moving down the street of the city until he found himself in a place he didn’t even know existed, it was the Roman Coliseum. He was stunned by what he saw! Thousands of people had gathered to watch men die as entertainment, to see bloodshed in front of their eyes. Everyone was focused on the gladiators as they one after another stood before the Roman Emperor and shouted out, “We who are about to die salute thee O god!”

The simple monk covered his ears at the clashing of swords and shields as one man after another fell dead in the arena. Unable to stand it any longer he ran down to the rail encircling the arena, and climbed up on the wall and stood there shouting out, “In the Name of Christ, forbear! In the name of Christ, forbear!” No one listened as the raucous crowd watched another gladiator die before them.

Then Telemachus jumped down off the wall and landed in the sand of the arena and ran up to the pair of gladiators locked in the fight to the death, and screamed at them, “In the name of Christ, forbear. Stop this!” One of the gladiators bumped him aside and continued the fight. But the monk named Telemachus continued to shout. At first the crowd was amused, but as he continued to get in the way, someone shouted out, “Run him through! Kill him!” Then the gladiator who pushed him away with his shield, took his sharp sword and came down on the chest of the monk and with one flash of his blade opened him up all the way down from chest to his stomach. As Telemachus slumped to his knees, he shouted those words with his last breath – “In the name of Christ, forbear!”

Then something strange happened, as the still form of the monk was lying in the suddenly crimson sand—the shouting crowds grew deathly quiet. In the silence someone in the top row of the arena got up and walked out. Then another got up and left, and then another. All over the arena the spectators got to their feet and quietly left the Coliseum- until it was empty. That innocent figure lying in a crimson pool of blood awakened their conscience and shifted the atmosphere. That was the last fight of gladiators in the Roman Coliseum, ever. Never again did the men kill each other for the crowds’ entertainment.

ONE MAN CHANGED A NATION, and shifted the culture. ONE MAN sent from God with a message that stirred the deepest places of the heart. It was LOVE FOR JESUS THAT ENDED HIS LIFE. Telemachus laid down his life as an offering to shift the atmosphere. Beloved Christ warrior, Cheer up! Be brave! Within you lies the power to change not only one nation but the whole world!

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24

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