Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mamertine Prison

(by Greg)

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal.  But the word of God is not bound.” - 2 Timothy 2:8-9

The Bible is very important to me.  I start everyday by spending time in the Bible.  One part of the Bible that has been especially dear to me is 2 Timothy, the letter written by the apostle Paul to Timothy, his dear friend and brother in the faith.  I have had long conversations about this book with many in our church, especially our pastor Rob Berreth.  In the past 15 years I have gone back to this book time and again, for instruction, for encouragement and for hope.

We are on a fall break from school this week and since we are living only about an hour from the Italian border, we decided to visit Lake Como in Northern Italy, to rest and recover from the past 2 months.  Since we did not know if or when we would get the chance to be in Italy again, we convinced ourselves that we really should tack on a few days in Rome … for the sake of the children:) 

Yesterday we got to visit some incredible sites, including the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill (home of Rome’s emperors) the Senate hall (the birthplace of democracy).  But we also got to visit a place that many people probably overlook.  It is the site of what was called Mamertine prison. This is the prison in which the apostle’s Peter and Paul were held before their executions.  It is also believed to be the site where Paul wrote 2 Timothy.  Our family got to stand in the very cell where these words were penned, these words which have been read for the past (almost) 2,000 years by people from every country on the face of this earth.  It was such a tremendous gift to get to visit this prison (now converted into a museum).  It was a tremendous encouragement to my faith to stand in that cell and to remember that this book I read everyday is not a fairy tale, but is history and was played out by men and women who held the Gospel so tightly, that there were willing to die rather than deny it.  I thank God for this opportunity, and for the reminder that He can even use a man chained in prison to bring hope and peace and life to countless people.  

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” - 2 Timothy 4:6-8

 The outside of Mamertine Prison

 The cell where Peter and Paul were held.