Today marks the 600 year anniversary of Jan Hus. Most Christians today have never heard of Hus. He along with John Wycliffe were the original reformers of the church, and for that we have much to be grateful for. A full 100 years before the protestant reformation of salvation by grace through faith in Christ took place the stage for that was set by Wycliffe and Hus. Hus was a catholic who was committed to the scriptures. He was committed to do what it said at the cost of his own life. He had tremendous courage and conviction as he stood against the only church that existed at the time the Roman Catholic church. He saw many practices of the church that were contrary to the teaching of scripture.
What was amazing about Hus was that his life was submitted to God and completely committed to scripture. Hus was not a revolutionary by nature but was unable to stand by because of his deep love for the church and for God’s word.
When asked to recant he would not and it cost him his life. He gave his life and was ultimately burned at the stake because he wanted the bible to be in hands of the laity.
The historical account of his death is amazing.
Then Hus sang in verse, with an elated voice, like the psalmist in the thirty-first psalm, reading from a paper in his hands: “In thee, O Lord, I put my trust, bow down thine ear to me.” With such Christian prayers, Hus arrived at the stake, looking at it without fear. He climbed upon it, after two assistants of the hangman had torn his clothes from him and had clad him into a shirt drenched with pitch. At that moment, one of the electors, Prince Ludwig of the Palatinate, rode up and pleaded with Hus to recant, so that he might be spared a death in the flames. But Hus replied: “Today you will roast a lean goose, but hundred years from now you will hear a swan sing, whom you will leave unroasted and no trap or net will catch him for you.” Full of pity and filled with much admiration, the Prince turned away.
Amazing how he foretold of the protestant reformation. When Hus spoke of a Goose he was referring to himself because “Hus” is actually Czech for Goose. The swan was in reference to Luther whose families coat of arms contained a swan and who began the reformation nearly 100 years from the death of Hus.
What our kids need to know and what we need to remember is that our bible came to us at great cost to the lives of many. That the truth inside God’s word compelled and strengthen many to stand in the midst of extreme adversity. From Hus’ life we learn that we can have a revolution without being revolutionaries.
The power of God’s word is what compels us to stand for truth in love. Our kids need to know about lives like Hus that were willing given so we could have the scriptures in our own language. So that we could hear God speak to us through them and compel us to live a life of love founded in ultimate truth.
Below is an interview our pastor did for our church this past Sunday with Dr. Gordan Issacs professor of church history at Gordan Cromwell Seminary. It this video they discuss the impact of the life of Jan Hus on us as protestants and in History. It’s 29 minutes but well worth the watch.