December 23

Joost Joosten had a beautiful singing voice, and for that reason he was a part of the choir at the Roman Catholic church in his Netherlands hometown of Goes. When King Philip II visited the community, he heard the tenor voice of the boy and desired to take him from his home and family back to Spain. Joost would have no part of the plan. With the help of family and neighbors, he hid himself in a small boathouse until the King returned to Spain. The Hollanders then began to look on the young man as a hero, because he rejected the honor and glory of Spain in order to remain at home. But eventually their opinion changed.

Joost was a good scholar with a love for reading and thinking for himself. The temporary respect of the community gave him some freedom to move about and interact with various other citizens – including a few Anabaptists. As he listened to their preaching, talking with them after their services, Joost became convinced that Christ, without the help of the Catholic Church, was the Saviour. Eventually, he was born again and became a witness for Christ.

When the young man turned eighteen, the shine was wearing off his hero status. And when King Philip renewed the mandate established by his father, Charles V, ordering the death penalty for all Anabaptists, Joosten’s life became at risk.

Joost was arrested. At first, inquisitors tried to argue him into recanting and returning to Catholicism. When that failed, they turned to the rack, pulling his arms and legs to the point of dislocation. Each time he fainted his tormenters threw cold water over him and began again. Still there was no hesitation in his testimony of the truth faith. Then a new torture was unveiled. The young man was tied to a chair, and a thin metal rod was driven from just above his knee down through his flesh in his calf until it came out at his ankle. The jailers who were forced to inflict this pain were themselves physically shaken. Still Joost would not recant. Each night, when he was returned to his cell, he would sing away his pain, and his fellow prisoners were comforted in his comfort.

Finally, on this day in 1560, a hut of straw was erected in the market square and our brother Joost Joosten was trust in. Singing one of his favorite hymns, “O Lord, You are Forever in my Thoughts,” Joost sang his way into the presence of his Saviour.