I just love the impact of some people that change history by their acts of courage.
The brave actions of one man ended the gruesome Coliseum games in ancient Rome for good. For his peaceful protest against barbarianism, Telemachus paid with his life. During the reign of the Roman Empire, Romans attended gladiatorial games at the Coliseum for entertainment. There gladiators would fight criminals, prisoners and vicious animals until death.
Telemachus was a monk. Telemachus was a little simple man who enjoyed living in the out back of beyond, places full of the wonders of God’s creation, a hermit. He was quite content and had no reason to want to do anything else, his life was devoted to prayer. But one day, he felt that God was telling him to go to Rome. He hated Rome. He enjoyed his monastic lifestyle, absent of the hustle and bustle of city life. But God needed him in Rome. So Telemachus left his reclusive lifestyle to obey God.
He entered the streets of Rome on January 1, 404 AD. Immediately, he was overwhelmed by the artwork and monumental architecture, and was also disgusted by the way man worshipped himself in that city.
He got caught up in a crowd of people and was almost involuntarily led into the Colosseum. As he sat in the there, he was shocked by the spectacle of bloodletting and sadism that was meant to entertain the masses. Humans massacring and butchering one another. He could not believe what he saw. As soon as the violence started, he stood up and screamed out, “In the name of Christ, stop this!” His voice carried well in the acoustic masterpiece. Everybody heard him. He ran down the stairs and into the center of the arena, all along repeating his plea, “In the name of Christ, stop this!” People laughed. Someone yelled from the stands, “Kill him! Run him through!” A gladiator threw him out of his way and then sent a spear right through Telemachus. The stadium fell silent. Telemachus, doubled over with the spear in his gut, blood spilling on the ground, dying, said one last time, “In the name of Christ, stop this!” A small old man, lifeless, blood soaked – dead – at the foot of a gladiator. His selfless act changing the course of history.
Silence. Then one man stood and walked out. Then another, and another, until the thousands and thousands of people in the Colosseum had left. But this was not the end. Although there were other factors, the death of Telemachus solidified the opposition to the gladiatorial battles. Emperor Honorius was so moved by Telemachus’ actions, he issued an edict, banning the gruesome gladiatorial battles. The Colosseum had witnessed it’s last fight. Telemachus was designated as a saint for his heroic stance for humanity and truth.
He had done more for God as well as humanity in those few minutes – impacting the lives of many than he had achieved all those years living in a cave out the back of beyond. It’s time for us too, to get out of our caves and yell to this world – IN THE NAME OF CHRIST, STOP THIS!!!
-Lead Pastor Prescott First Assembly