A Christian martyr is someone who died for his or her faith, rather than renounce Christ. Ever since Stephen the very first martyr was stoned to death outside Jerusalem (Acts 7), Christians around the world have suffered and died for the sake of Christ.
Conversion to Christianity among local tribes in Uganda meant rejection of the traditional religions and ways of life.
According to tradition, the Kabaka was the center of all authority and power in Buganda, and he could use his subjects as he wished.
Recently, Uganda and the rest of the world celebrated 3rd June the day on which the Uganda Martyrs were killed by Kabaka Mwanga for disobeying his command like not to convert to Christianity yet before, Mwanga had shown favor to the Christian missionaries but, his attitude changed as soon as he took the throne from 1868.
These Christian martyrs from Catholic and Anglican Churches died painfully like they were tortured and later burnt into ashes by Mukajanga on orders of Mwanga after noticing that some of them were still breathing and so he commanded that they should be burnt for fear that if he left them alive, they would turn against him.
The spread of Christianity by the Christian missionaries in Uganda was news into the ears of Mwanga because initially Buganda and the rest of Kingdoms in the country, Christianity was unheard of other than the traditional religions which were being practiced by local tribes. What was done by Mwanga was a coward and primitive behavior, but we cannot blame him because he was not civilized enough to understand the role of Christianity in society like it gives meaning and purpose to life, reinforces social unity and stability, serves as an agent of social control of behavior, promotes physical and psychological well-being, and motivates people to work for positive social change.
Whatever Mwanga did was trying to protect his subjects from what he called colonialism.
He viewed the presence of the Christian missionaries as a diminishing factor to his authority among the converts.
Hence he ordered for the brutal execution of forty-five converts: twenty-two Catholics and twenty-three Anglicans. In one way or the other, the death of Uganda Martyrs led to the birth and spread of Christianity in Uganda.
No wonder today Uganda is referred to as a religious country, Christianity being the first and secondary Islam.
The death of Uganda Martyrs left us with so many lessons to pick from. Christian martyrs teach us that we can stand for God no matter the circumstances.
This does not mean that we should seek suffering or death for Christ, but it does mean that, if we are presented with the choice of “die or deny Christ,” we should be bold and cling to Christ. Martyrs show us what it looks like to stand firm in not denying Jesus.
Another lesson Christian martyrs teach us is that we will receive a reward for standing for our faith. Christian martyrs are a model of grace under pressure.
They teach us how to handle persecution of any kind. When we press into knowing God personally and truly begin living for God, we will become a target for those who hate God. The spiritual battle is real, and so are the rewards.
We are serving a real God who really loves us, who was really willing to die for us, and who really rewards us for standing for Him.
The lessons learnt from Christian Uganda Martyrs and the annual 3rd June Uganda Martyrs Celebrations should