A young Roman by the name of Adrian, a Praetorian Guard, under Emperor Galerius Maximian, had been a fanatical persecutor of Christians. But the calmness and courage of those he put to the torture impressed him. Adrian, brave himself, admired bravery. In these Christians he saw heroism greater than any he had seen in battle.
It was the year 280 and Adrian was 28 years old. His skill and daring had led to one promotion after another. Yet, he could not get over his admiration for these followers of Christ. One day he asked one of the Christians being tortured:
“What gives you such strength and joy in the midst of your sufferings?”
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we believe,” the martyr replied.
In a flash Adrian made an important decision. He stepped to the heathen judge and declared:
“Put down my name among those to be tortured. I also shall become a Christian.”
For 23 years after his conversion Adrian suffered much, but he never flinched from his loyalty to Christ. In 303 he was killed at Nicodemia. For 17 centuries since he was the patron saint of soldiers. “Put down my name,” was said with true Christian courage.
With July 4 approaching in a couple of weeks, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that freedom isn’t free. The freedoms that we celebrate as Americans were paid for by men (and women) who said “put down my name”. The greatest freedom that we as Christians possess was paid for by the Lord of the universe who said, “put down my Name”. This young Roman soldier named Adrian recognized a liberty of the soul and a freedom in the heart of those he was actually torturing. Even though years of hardship and persecution were to come (knowing he was sure to suffer the same fate he was dishing out) Adrian knew he was more free with Jesus than without. He must have taken a moment to count the cost of what it would take to follow this Jesus as the many martyrs before him. From his decision, we see that he made a TOTAL commitment. He wasn’t in it just for the blessings. He didn’t just make a quick off-the-cuff- decision so he could become prosperous or that bad things would never happen to him again. No! He observed first hand what it meant to believe in something with your whole being even to the point of death. Does this soldier remind you of anyone else? It should. There have been millions who have followed through with the same commitment Adrian made. Many disciples left their fishing nets one day to follow Jesus. A man named Saul one day put his pedigree and heritage behind him to follow Jesus completely. Charles Finney laid aside his law degree to follow Christ and preach the Gospel to thousands.
Jesus has called you and I to the same task. We are to follow Him and leave everything else behind. The world has yet to see the fullest potential of a person who has completely sold out to Christ. Let us make our way to Him today and speak the words of a simple, trusting soldier, “Put down my name”!
Freedom in Christ.