Ever wish you could time travel? What era would you want to go to? Who would you want to meet? Most people will pick some significant time. They will also have a desire to speak with a historic figure to try and make sense of what occurred. Who are the historical figures you would pick? Personally, I am fascinated with the period after Jesus’s death and resurrection. Of course, time travel is not possible but we can look back in time and try to understand things a bit more through what people wrote down
Early Christianity is fascinating. Why would a movement under persecution for a couple of hundred years flourish? The Jews that did not accept Christ saw Christianity as heresy. Saul by his own account in the New Testament discuss the persecution of Christians by Jews (Act 22:1-6). The Jewish leaders thought that by killing Jesus they would snuff out His following. Now they had to contend with the apostles. They did their best in the name of their faith to stop its spread and influence. But they were not alone in their attempt.
Most people believe it was the Roman government that caused Christianity to spread and grow. Not until 313 AD, under Emperor Constantine, with the “Edict of Milan”, that Christianity was acknowledged. Prior to that, you had Nero who pinned the big fire in Rome on Christians in 64AD. He had them burned, killed for sport. Christians were generally reviled by Romans for refusing to accept Ceasar as lord and the pagan gods they worshiped. Local politicians used the disdain for Christians to their advantage.
So what was it like it be an early Christian. This expert from the The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus: (130-200 A.D) gives an interesting account.
For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.
Author - Guy Yasika
Looking to profess my faith to anyone that will listen.