Ignatius of Antioch: Earliest Post-New Testament Martyr
Over at Christianity Today's Christian History Web site there is a fine article about Ignatius of Antioch. Here's an excerpt . . .
"Now I begin to be a disciple. … Let fire and cross, flocks of beasts, broken bones, dismemberment … come upon me, so long as I attain to Jesus Christ."
Ignatius was going to die. He knew it. He wanted it. The only possible problem, as he saw it, was meddling Christians.
"I fear your kindness, which may harm me," he wrote to Roman Christians hoping to free him. "You may be able to achieve what you plan. But if you pay no heed to my request, it will be very difficult for me to attain unto God." And that was truly Ignatius's goal: to imitate "our God Jesus Christ" in death. If Christians really wanted to do something, they should pray that he would remain faithful. "If you remain silent about me, I shall become a word of God. But if you allow yourselves to be swayed by the love in which you hold my flesh, I shall again be no more than a human voice."
You can read the entire article here.