The Story of Robert Thomas – Martyr in Korea

Mar 31, 2020 6059

Robert-ThomasBorn in 1839 in Wales, Robert Jermain Thomas was ordained as a missionary with the London Mission Society. His heart burned within him with a passion for the preaching of the gospel, and for seeing people accept Jesus Christ. He married the love of his life, Caroline, and immediately the newly-weds set off to China, a five-month journey. Shortly after arriving in Shanghai, Robert Thomas was devastated when his wife died suddenly. Later that same year he went to Beijing where he worked teaching English and Chinese. At that time, Korea was known as the Hermit Kingdom because it had cut itself off from the rest of the world. Some Catholic priests had arrived in Korea in 1785, but in 1863, the Korean authorities massacred around 8,000 of the converts.

In 1865 Robert met two Korean traders who told him about the need for the gospel in Korea. This was a need that Robert Thomas could not ignore. He disguised himself heavily and went into Korea. He stayed there for four months, preaching the gospel and selling many Chinese Bibles. All the time he knew that he risked death if he were discovered.

The following year, Robert returned to Korea with crates of Bibles. He sailed up the river to Pyongyang on the American trading ship, the General Sherman. The Koreans warned the ship to leave, but the vessel continued on its course until it became stuck on a sandbank. The Koreans sent fire rafts against the ship, which caught on fire. All on board tried to escape the burning ship, but they were killed by the soldiers on the river bank as they tried to make their way to safety.

Robert stood on the deck of the burning ship, opening the crates of Bibles and flinging them to the people who lined the banks of the river. Finally, with his clothes on fire, Robert leaped overboard, and as he reached the shore, he offered his last Bible to a soldier, begging him to receive it. Instead the soldier, although he hesitated, killed Robert with his spear. Robert Thomas was 27 years of age.

A few of the people on the riverbank managed to rescue some of the Bibles, and taking them home, used them as wallpaper. Over time, the people began to read what was written on their walls, and as a result, gradually Koreans started converting to Christianity. Today the church in South Korea numbers in the many millions, and includes some of the largest evangelical churches in the world. And it all started with one young man (literally) on fire with the gospel of Jesus Christ, who laid down his life to share the gospel with the Korean people!

It’s the same with all who follow Jesus. We must all be consumed by the gospel. It might not be through martyrdom, but one way or another we will all lay down our lives down for it. Every follower of Jesus is a 100% evangelist; the gospel must consume 100% of your life. Just as you can’t be half-pregnant, there is no such thing as a 50% ambassador for the good news of Jesus. It just doesn’t exist. The news is too good.

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– Eliezer Gonzalez

Help Spread the Good News

Eliezer Gonzalez

Mar 9, 2021

You are on fire for Jesus, brother Jabel! Praise the Lord!


HALINDIMANA JABEL

Mar 8, 2021

Dr.Gonzalez, I can not fully express how these powerful statements have scorched me down ferociously with Gospel fires; " And it all started with one young man (literally) on fire with the gospel of Jesus Christ, who laid down his life to share the gospel with the Korean people! It’s the same with all who follow Jesus. We must all be consumed by the gospel. It might not be through martyrdom, but one way or another we will all lay down our lives down for it. Every follower of Jesus is a 100% evangelist; the gospel must consume 100% of your life. Just as you can’t be half-pregnant, there is no such thing as a 50% ambassador for the good news of Jesus. It just doesn’t exist. The news is too good." All who profess to be followers of Jesus MUST get lost in Jesus. No more, no less. Mediocrity is not only a waste of time but it just DOES NOT work out anything in matters of faith. Either we are for Christ or we are against Him.Time,life,resources and other treasures must be brought and laid down at the feet of Jesus .Anyway, what else matters in life? (Halindimana Jabel-GNU-Uganda)


Dkochen Jasper Sam

Apr 7, 2020

The story is so touching I believe that is the way to go because if no body made endeavors to come to you you would still be in your sin so let all believers rise up to share the gospel with non believers. I also want to share a a bit of my story, when I finished my first level in the Seminary felt God was calling me to go for mission work in another District which was far from my home but the worst situations was that there was rebel activities in the region. But told me to go life was not easy I faced alot challenges to a point of loosing 2 of my children but glory to God inspite of sufferings for nearly 8 years the churches were planted that has given me great joy.


Tesfaye Hambissa

Apr 5, 2020

Rober's story is heartbreaking! Now I am a teacher in a university. But it is my big dream to be an evangelist in the future. Good usually promises me though his prophets that I would be a regular preacher of the Gospel. Please, show me the way. Thank you!


Richard A Holroyd

Mar 13, 2020

all things work together for good for those who love God in Christ Jesus.....Amen


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