“Tell him, Timothy, please!” shouted Maura, pleading with her husband. “Tell the governor where the Scriptures are hidden and be free! I cannot bear to watch any more of this.” Timothy and Maura, residents of the Roman province of Mauritania, had been married only a few short weeks before their arrest.
Maura had watched in horror as soldiers put out her husband’s eyes with hot irons, trying to break his will. Now, hanging upside down with a weight around his neck on the orders of the Roman governor Arrianus, Timothy waited for his gag to be removed. The fear he initially felt at his arrest had been replaced with a sense of divine calm.
Instead of renouncing his faith and disclosing the location of his church’s copies of the Scriptures, as the soldiers expected, Timothy scolded his young wife. “Do not let your love for me come before your love for Christ,” he urged Maura, affirming his willingness and determination to die for his Savior. Seeing her husband’s courage, Maura’s own resolve was strengthened.
Arrianus, already in a rage at Timothy’s refusal, set out to break Maura’s newfound courage. He sentenced her to the harshest tortures of the Roman world. Yet she would not break. She refused to deny Christ.
After each had endured unspeakable suffering, Timothy and Maura were crucified, side by side.
Jesus did not entrust his ministry to independent believers—he established a spiritual family. He used words like “brother” and “sister” to convey the idea that he did not expect his disciples to be in this alone. Paul continued Christ’s mission by instructing new believers to gather together in churches for fellowship and corporate worship. Christians need each other—especially in times of trial. When one believer falters, fellow believers rally in support and encouragement. This is why the New Testament regards the duty of living by example as a necessity in the Christian faith. One person’s example of faith and courage can inspire and unite others to follow suit. Conversely, when one believer cracks under the pressure of persecution, it is easier for others to give in as well. History holds high the camaraderie of Christian community—especially during persecution.
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love. – Colossians 2:2