An Early Reformer

October 31, 2014
by Joel Jongkind

Matthew 16:25 – For whoever desires save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (NKJV)

Shortly after we moved to Meaford, Ontario, Canada, in 1948, I was just a young lad. I saw that there was a jewellery store called Huss Jewellery. For some reason, I went in to see the man about, I believe, the repair of a watch which belonged to my mother. He asked me where I was from, and then, he asked me if I knew about Jan Huss. I told him that I had learned about him in the Christian school that I had attended in the Netherlands. He proceeded to tell me in great detail that Jan Huss was one of his ancestors. Imagine! He told me that he was one of the early reformers who was killed for his faith. He became quite vocal and emotional about it, actually.

Some years ago we went on a "Cities of the Reformation Tour". We visited Eisleben, Germany, the place where Martin Luther was born and died. We went to Geneva, Switzerland, to visit the church where John Calvin preached. We also visited the city of Prague in the Czech Republic where Jan Huss lived and died. He was born in 1369 and was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. Huss was a Czech priest, philosopher, and master at Charles University in Prague. He is considered the first church reformer, as he lived before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli.

He was obviously raised in and practiced the Church of Rome's form of worship, but just like his later fellow reformers, he started to disagree with their teachings. For that very reason, his brothers in the church, his fellow lecturers, and perhaps even his own family turned against him, resulting in his public execution.

Jesus warned us that people who were our friends will disagree with us for His sake.

Luke 12:52-53 – For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (ESV)

When we worship in the Reformed tradition, when we go to church without fear of persecution or prosecution, we often fail to realize or remember the hardships, ridicule, and even death that the early reformers experienced, just because they spoke against and broke away from the established church of the time.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, when we are reminded of the sacrifices that the early reformers made for their faith in You, we have to admit that there is so little that we know about them and the troubles, ridicule, and even death that they endured. We ask, Lord, that we will be more appreciative of what they did to bring the Reformation about. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    So true Joel.


    Thank you for this lesson on Jan Hus!


    Wow! That’s something to think about!


    Thank you for this story – makes one appreciate.


    Hi Joel
    Thank-you for your reflections and sharing of your personal journey. I find the cost of following Jesus is being lost. Blessings and prayers.


    Wonderful how God puts people in our paths to speak about those who stood up for Christ and their beliefs. Thank you and I would like to use your devotion for Reformation Sunday. Personal experiences are so much more effective than just a reading.
    Thank you Joel for your devotions, I always receive a blessing from them.


    Especially for those of us who decided to walk away from another denomination because we believed that it was/is moving far away from the truth of God’s Word. We really didn’t suffer much compared to the people who stood up for the Truth in the past. May the Lord give us even more courage and momentum to actually speak to people around us about the Good News! I don’t know why we are so reluctant to take that step (for fear of alienating someone, or being politically incorrect!).


    Thank you, Joel Jongkind, for reminding us of persons who stood for right in God’s sight — even to death for His sake.
    We have challenges today to stand firm and not give in to what God is shown us is not His way.
    Let’s pray for one another and for God’s people everywhere, especially for those who are your chosen ones to take the word to hard places in the world where there is danger of persecution and even death.
    Keep writing.


    Thank you for sharing your story in this devotion! All things happen for a reason, as your devotion reminds us — that your family moved to Meaford, that you saw this particular store owner’s name, and upon entering, learned that this man was a descendant of a man of whom you had learned of in school! Thank you as well for reminding readers that worshiping in a Reformed denomination, we owe much to those early reformers and what they endured at times to follow Jesus’ teachings.
    Do continue to write your most interesting and informative devotions!
    God Bless!


    Hi Joe:
    What a great story for Reformation Day and week-end.
    Thanks so much for sharing it with us and all your readers. Just a great lesson in history too and how heart warming and exciting for you, to have talked to someone who was actually related to THE earliest reformer. Wow.!!


    Thanks! What an interesting story, and how cool that the jeweler knew family history that goes back so many years. I love that.

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