Julia Ota: A Fragrant Bloom for Christ

Author: Sonja Anderson — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: March 8, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Julia Ota: A Fragrant Bloom for Christ


A child and a spoil of war. Forced to live with the enemy, far from home. Then, as a young woman, a war prize again, forced to serve the nation’s most powerful leader. Finally, exiled to an island for her Christian faith.

This was the life of Julia Ota, who lived over four hundred years ago. Japanese warriors invaded her Korean home and swept her back to Japan, an unjust and tragic event, especially for a child. But Julia also grew up experiencing God’s blessing, goodness, and transforming love. In Japan, an influential Christian general and his wife raised her as their own. She was baptized and named Julia.

Life changed again for Julia, however, when Tokugawa Ieyasu won a decisive battle, became Shogun, and executed the Christian general. Julia became the Shogun’s lady-in-waiting.

When she was faced with an ultimatum, Julia refused to deny Christ, who loved her and had sacrificed Himself and been raised for her. So, the Shogun exiled her to the Izu Islands. On the islands, she cared for those who were weak, sick, or in need of encouragement.

Like a beautiful flower, Julia’s love for Christ spread a healing fragrance of joy and hope everywhere she went. Her charity and evangelism are still remembered in Japan and Korea today with various memorials and even an annual festival! How amazing is it that Jesus is at work even in the worst of circumstances? • Sonja Anderson

• As Christians, when we go through terrible circumstances in our lives, we can know that Jesus Christ holds us through it all and He is working for our good (Romans 8:28-29, 35-39). How might this truth embolden us to share His goodness with others, even in the midst of hardship?

• Has anyone in your life shared Jesus’s joy, hope, and healing with you? What was it like?

• Is there anyone in your life who might need the fragrance of Jesus’s joy, hope, and healing in their life? Consider spending sometime in prayer, asking God how you might spread the love and knowledge of Christ to that person.

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV)