We talk alot about the things children can not do, things children should not do, but Christ himself talks about what the world sees as the least of these in a whole new light, and stories of heroes for the faith do not only include adults, but take for an example of this twelve year old boy martyred in 1596 along with twenty six other Christians...
Japan: Ibaragi Kun
November 23, 1596
After they all had been tried, found guilty, and sentenced to die, twenty-six Christians were marched to the place where crudely made crosses stood. Almost three months earlier, they had been arrested in Kyoto, Japan, and charged with following Christ. One of the convicts was named Ibaragi Kun.
Seeing how young Kun was, an official took him aside and urged him to recant his faith to save his life. Looking the official in the eye, Kun said confidently, "Sir, it would be far better if you yourself became a Christian. Then you could go to heaven with me."
The officer stared, startled by the young man's faith. Finally, Ibaragi asked, "Sir, which cross is mine?"
The bewildered official pointed to the smallest of the twenty-six crosses. Young Kun ran to the cross, knelt before it, and embraced it. When the soldiers began to nail his hands and feet to the cross, he did not cry out in pain. He courageously accepted the path God had laid out for him.
The crucifixion of the twenty-six Christians on November 23, 1596, was the beginning of a period of intense persecution of Christians in Japan. Over the next seventy years, as many as one million Japanese Christians would be killed for their faith. Many would embrace their own crosses to follow the example of Ibaragi Kun, a very mature twelve-year-old boy.
(Excerpt from Extreme Devotion: The Voice of the Martyrs, 32)
Twelve years old and this boy was willing to stand up and die for what he believed, this boy showed bravery that could only come from the Lord above. I wonder today how many of us would be willing to stand up the way this young boy did, but we have seen even today that the Lord will often use what the world sees as the least of these to show us what true faith really is...
Michelle R Kidwell