Just read about the Martyrdom of Polycarp, who is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers.
Quotes taken from here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/martyrdompolycarp-hoole.html
9:2 Then, when he had been brought in, the proconsul asked him if he was Polycarp. And when he confessed, he would have persuaded him to deny, saying, Have respect unto thine age, and other things like these, as is their custom to say: Swear by the fortunes of Caesar; Repent; Say, Away with the Atheists. But Polycarp, when he had looked with a grave face at all the multitude of lawless heathen in the arena, having beckoned unto them with his hand, sighed, and looking up unto heaven, said, Away with the Atheists!I find it interesting that the Christians were called Atheists in this period. Why would Christians be called Atheists? Was it because they did not believe that Caesar was Lord? Interesting.
9:3 And when the proconsul pressed him, and said, Swear, and I will release thee, revile Christ; Polycarp said, Eighty and six years have I served him, and in nothing hath he wronged me; and how, then, can I blaspheme my King, who saved me?So the story goes that Polycarp was burned in the arena at 86 years of age, but the fire could not kill him so they killed him with a sword. All because Polycarp remained faithful to his King.
His final words:
"O Lord God Almighty, Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received our knowledge concerning thee, the God of angels and powers, and of the whole creation, and of all the race of the just who lived before thee, I thank thee that thou hast deemed me worthy of this day and hour, that I should have my portion in the number of the martyrs, in the cup of thy Christ, unto the resurrection of eternal life, both of the soul and body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit. Among these may I be received before thee this day as a rich and acceptable sacrifice, even as thou hast prepared and made manifest beforehand, and hast fulfilled, thou who art the unerring and true God."Polycarp saw this as partaking in the cup of Christ. His Lord's words to take up his cross and follow Him were very real. I also see a similarity here to Paul in Romans 6 where we learn that those who are baptized into Christ died with Christ on the cross and are raised into new life with Him.