By Johnstocker

They will be my treasured possession… And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. Malachi 3:17b, 18

When these three Christians were taken prisoner and brought before Maximus, the Roman governor of Cilicia, for interrogation, they did not shrink from defending their faith.

Tarachus was first to be questioned, and, asked whether he would sacrifice to the gods, he replied that the emperors were deceived in their worship of idols. Probus was next. He was asked if he would renounce his faith, answering that having formerly been rich he saw no benefit in giving up Christ. Andronicus was the last to stand before Maximus. He too would not worship idols and instead chose to suffer for his Saviour. The three Christians then underwent two more examinations, accompanied by tortures, before being sentenced to death by wild beasts. This was a customary Roman death for criminals, which Emperor Diocletian used on many Christians. When thrown to the animals, Tarachus, Probus and Andronicus remained unharmed, so they were put to death by the sword.

To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.

George Muller (1805-98)

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.