Day 5

Christianity in Rome

from the Countdown to Acts reading plan

Mark 12:17, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, 1 Peter 2:17, Isaiah 9:6-7

Christianity was born in the Roman Empire. The book of Acts tells about how the message of Christ spread throughout the Roman world by way, not only of missionary journeys, but also by word of mouth from people whose lives had been transformed by the gospel.

The message of Christ spread quickly, and the number of those who believed grew to a size that caught Rome’s attention. Early on, the Roman Empire regarded Christianity as a sect of Judaism, which explains why Rome tended to treat conflicts between Jews and Christians in Acts as internal matters (Acts 18:12-17).

Early Christians did not oppose Roman authority. Jesus taught His followers to pay their taxes (Mark 12:17). Paul and the other apostles taught that Christians should honor the government so long as Roman authorities didn’t forbid them from following Christ (1 Tim. 2:1-2, 1 Pet. 2:17). Because of this, early Roman persecution of Christians was more the exception than the rule.

There were, however, a few notable tumultuous periods. For example, shortly after Jesus’ birth, Herod the Great, in his zeal to kill the one born “King of the Jews,” slaughtered all Hebrew male children under age two (Matt. 2:13-16). Later, in 64 AD, Emperor Nero blamed the great fire of Rome on Christians. It may have been during Nero’s persecution when both Paul and Peter lost their lives.

Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and, according to Romans 15:28, a Christian church existed in the city of Rome itself as early as 50 AD—less than 20 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. It is fascinating to consider how the Roman occupation of Israel—something most Israelites viewed as an unfortunate hardship—would end up setting the table for the gospel to spread from Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria to the ends of the earth.

Post Comments (46)

46 thoughts on "Christianity in Rome"

  1. Luke Stockeland says:

    I need to trust in God’s plan. And be faithful where I am.

  2. Luke Stockeland says:

    He has a plan!

  3. Luke Stockeland says:

    I will play my role in God’s plan of taking the awesome message of the gospel throughout my country (U.S. of A) just like the early Christians did in the Roman Empire.

  4. Luke Stockeland says:

    God’s plan is that the gospel be spread to the nations!

  5. Luke Stockeland says:

    Lord, thank You for using me as a small part of your plan to spread the gospel. Help me to be a faithful servant and a fruitful testimony for You!

  6. dalehorse says:

    It’s from God and thus it is perfect in execution, in application, and in timing.

  7. dalehorse says:

    We need to buckle up.

  8. dalehorse says:

    God’s plan is incredibly intricate and full of wisdom and perfect timing.

  9. Kenny says:

    Seems like he is always using covert, back door, grass roots kind of ways to accomplish his purposes. He uses the seemingly small and insignificant to turn things upside down.

  10. Nick says:

    By giving my life to Christ and doing my daily work. Through my words and actions (whatever they are as long as my heart is aligned with Jesus), people will come to know who He is.
    It’s not up to me.

  11. Nick says:

    It’s like a wildfire that spreads rapidly and cannot be contained. All it takes to start is the light of a match- “the faith of a mustard seed.” Matthew 17:20

  12. Nick says:

    You don’t have to be a Christian to be used by God. Everyone, and all we do, glorify Him one way or the other.

  13. Nick says:

    God’s plans for us and the world are typically not as they appear to us. For instance, he allows Rome to rule most of the known world, but uses Rome to spread his Gospel through it to the nations.

  14. Nick says:

    Lord your Kingdom come;
    Lord your will be done.

  15. Isaac Jones says:

    God puts all authorities in place. I’m Genesis we read about Joseph sold into slavery under a corrupt nation to help them which would ultimately lead to them being enslaved, which would then lead to God Showing/revealing His might and glory in freeing them, and they plundering the Egyptians by Gods command.
    In Daniel we learn again of men kidnapped and serving a corrupt nation which led to God being glorified there and eventually Nebuchadnezzar becoming a believer. And Now God allowed Rome to capture Jerusalem so the gospel could them spread to the ends of the Earth.

    God lets bad things happen (why?) for His glory; God wants to reveal the truth of His wisdom, power, might, justice, and compassion to people by way of difficult circumstances and miraculous delivery.

  16. Isaac Jones says:

    The gospel is greater than government. We need to pray for our leaders and for the strength to uphold the convictions of the faith while submitting to the government. This world will have striving and we will need the Holy Spirit of we are to endure. God has a plan of good news amidst all political upheaval. Situations of political suffering only lead to highlight the glory (and all manifestations of it mentioned earlier) of God, and the faithfulness of His servants.

  17. Isaac Jones says:

    We need to respect, submit, and serve our governments. God knows these are corrupt and we cannot sin for these entities. Joseph, David, Daniel, Esther, Jesus, and Paul are all people that had to live in extreme injustice and serve the one who was doing injustice to them in some cases (Jesus and Paul being exceptions). Those nations were way more dangerous than ours, and the people mentioned obeyed the faith whole submitting and serving the government. We need to do the same regardless of who is in the presidents chair. History has shown us that God’s people are usually being oppressed or confined by various pagan governors. Gods people should never put their hope in government.

  18. Isaac Jones says:

    I will respond by praying for my leaders and submitting to the government for the glory of God.

  19. Isaac Jones says:

    Our Father and political ruler,

    Thank you for showing us your awesome power in scripture. You show us how you are real and relevant in every political and socio-economic situation. Sometime I get scared over what our leaders do, and sometimes I want to avoid the government. God I spend more time considering how to be a “prepper” and self-sufficient from all situations than I do thinking about how I can better highlight your power in how I submit to the government. Thank you for this lesson, because I needed it. Thank you for opening my eyes; I pray your Spirit keeps them open and gives me the heart to obey what I have read. May I glorify you among my nation and spread the Word to the ends of the world for your glory; amen.

  20. Micah Allen says:

    I will respond by respecting those in authority over me even if I don’t like them and spreading the gospel at all costs.

  21. Micah Allen says:

    God it’s men in authority over us. I mean Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Emperor Nero were all put in power by God to fulfill part of his bigger plan. So no matter how bad the holocaust or Nero’s persecution was it happened for a reason.

  22. Micah Allen says:

    That God puts people (good or bad) in authority over us and he expects us to respect them just as we respect him.

  23. Micah Allen says:

    It doesn’t matter what the authority says here THE GOSPEL NEEDS TO BE SPREAD AT ALL COSTS. My youth pastor Aaron preached a message about how being a Christian always costs something and that something could mean your life so be brave and do what God is calling you to even if it means physical death.

  24. Micah Allen says:

    I will thank God for the good authority he’s placed in my life like my parents and my youth pastor and pray for the authorities that I don’t see eye to eye with like the president and my governor.

  25. Johnsan says:

    God works in mysterious ways. I’m pretty sure the Romans didn’t have the plan to spread the gospel! God did though…

  26. Johnsan says:

    We need to show respect to everyone, regardless of their beliefs, and regardless of what they think of ours.

  27. Johnsan says:

    It can be spread through the most unlikely methods.

  28. Johnsan says:

    By never doubting the ways of God or his wishes. It’s going to be hard, but that’s just because we’re fallible humans.

  29. Johnsan says:

    By helping me trust in him more and more each day.

  30. Dalton Beaty says:

    It teaches me how blinded man can be when something seems to be unfortunate, and out of the social norm. We tend to only view the world through our eyes, and our understanding. We forget the God’s power and will is limitless. We limit him to our understanding, when we should be praying and seeking his.

  31. Dalton Beaty says:

    God is not confined to the ways, cultural norms, and worldly understandings of what will work, what will not work, what is good, and what is not good. God can redeem any person, place, or situation that we find ourselves in. What the Israelites saw as unfortunate, God turned around for His glory to create a nation of His son’s followers. What an amazing God we serve.

  32. Dalton Beaty says:

    I must begin to see this world and it’s circumstances through God’s eyes, seeking to make His Gospel known to the ones that the rest of society overlooks.

  33. Dalton Beaty says:

    The Gospel can and will reach the ends of the Earth only through the obedience of God’s people. Only with the power of the Holy Spirit can we do just that.

  34. Dalton Beaty says:

    I must pray for God to give me His eyes, and His heart so that I can do His will. He is the only one capable of redeeming this broken world and broken people, I have to pray that He will do that to the people around me, through me.

  35. Mark Watson says:

    I will be reverent and obedient to those in power for they are in that position as the result of God’s divine providence.

  36. Mark Watson says:

    I will pray that those in positions of authority at every level use the wisdom and discernment of God in their decision making. That there efforts will be in furtherance of the kingdom of God in addition to facilitating prosperity in that over which they rule.

  37. Mark Watson says:

    This is an interesting look into the history of the gospel. The gospel was created through roman rule of Israel. Romans rule was more of a nuisance than a tyranny. With few exception. Because Jesus was all about people obeying those in a position of authority, the romans mostly left Christians alone, free to worship the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  38. Mark Watson says:

    God is to be glorified as the most high. No other ruler is above him. Yet he directs his followers to give proper homage and respect to those people in power and to be obedient to their rule but not at h expense of following Christ.

  39. Ethan Wymer says:

    It teaches us that we need to obey and respect authority on earth as long as it doesn’t conflict with Him.

  40. Ethan Wymer says:

    That we are supposed to honor the government as long as it doesn’t conflict with our walk with Jesus.

  41. Ethan Wymer says:

    I will respond by respecting the law and the authority above me. This includes even the little laws that I may not think of as being a problem.

  42. Ethan Wymer says:

    It teaches us that the Gospel was spread throughout parts of the world quickly, even with the strict Roman law and the persecution to the Christians.

  43. Ethan Wymer says:

    We will pray that we can learn to obey authority on earth and to trust that God will handle the problems that will arise.

  44. Nathan Porter says:

    God does not require a specific circumstance in order to move.

  45. Nathan Porter says:

    The gospel has no walls.

  46. Nathan Porter says:

    Man will seek God, even under resistance.

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