Tuesday, November 11, 2008

tuesday martyr

This account of the start of the Moravian mission movement is found here.

I first heard of these men in the sermon 10 shekels and a shirt by Paris Reidhead. I am certain that you will likely never forget these men.

Nicolaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf is known for the famous life-motto he chose as a young boy: "I have one passion; it is Jesus, Jesus only."

He was (born in 1700), and became the leader of The Moravian Christians-a Christian community that is best known for its unparalleled missionary zeal. In 1727, the Moravians began a prayer program called, "Hourly Intercession" in which people committed to pray for an hour in each of the 24 hours in a day. This prayer effort lasted unbroken for a hundred years. After 65 years of prayer (by 1792), the little church had sent out 300 missionaries to unreached people groups all over the world. The Moravians, designed their own logo to glorify God. It was an emblem composed of a lamb on a blood-red ground, with the resurrection cross and a banner of triumph. It had this motto; "Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him."

Early in Nicolaus's life, the painting of Christ (by Domenico Feti), titled "Behold the Man." changed his life. It portrays Jesus with the crown of thorns pushed into his head; blood running down his head; and a cut and bruised body. He's looking outward, as if looking at whoever is gazing into the painting. Beneath the portrait are the words; "I have done this for you; what have you done for me?" Viewing that painting Nicolaus said to himself; "I have loved Him for a long time, but I have never actually done anything for Him. From now on I will do whatever He leads me to do." For the rest of his life, those words reverberated in his zeal to follow Christ.

From the Moravian movement came two young men (the first Moravian missionaries), who heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist slave owner had over 2000 slaves. The owner declared that no preacher would be allowed to stay on the island, or come and talk about God. Leonard Dober, a potter, and David Nitschman, a carpenter, both in their early twenties, had heard about the island; the slaves, and what the slave owner had said. So, they came up with a self-sacrificial plan to take the gospel to that island. They sold themselves as slaves to the atheist. On October 8, 1732, Moravians came to the pier in Hamburg to say goodbye to the two men. This was a permanent goodbye because Leonard and David had sold themselves into lifetime slavery to share the gospel of Christ. Families were on shore weeping because they knew they would never see the two again. This was the scene as they were drifting off and one of the missionaries raised his hand and shouted across the water the last words that were heard from the two men--words that have resounded throughout history, and on into the heavens: "May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering."

Those words became the rallying call for the Moravians where 20 out of the first 29 missionaries to follow Leonard and David, died in the first few years. "May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering."



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