In his book “Loving God,” Charles Colson tells the story of Telemachus, a fourth-century Christian monk. Telemachus lived in a remote village and spent most of his time tending his garden and praying . One day, he sensed that he needed to go to Rome. The monk responded obediently and set out on foot. Weeks later, he arrived at the city’s gates to witness a great festival taking place. He followed the crowd through the streets toward the Colosseum.
Inside, he saw the gladiators stand before the emperor and say, “We who are about to die salute you.” Telemachus realized they were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowd, so he cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!” As the games began, Telemachus pushed through the crowds, climbed over the wall, and dropped to the arena floor screaming over and over, “In the name of Christ, stop!” The crowd thought this was part of the show, so they began laughing. When they realized it wasn’t, their laughter turned to angry shouts.
Suddenly, one of the gladiators plunged his sword into the body of Telemachus. (Some historians claim that a group from the spectators stoned him, others say it was both the stoning and the sword.) He fell to the sand and his last words were, “In the name of Christ, stop!” Then, a hush fell over the Colosseum and one man in the upper rows stood up and walked out. Soon, others began to follow and in silence everyone left the Colosseum. On that day, probably in 401 A.D., the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum was fought. It was all because one tiny voice that could hardly be heard above the uproar spoke the truth in God’s name.