“We pray for all the emperors, that God may grant them long life, a secure government, a prosperous family, vigorous troops, a faithful senate, an obedient people; that the whole…
- AngerAuthorityBishopChristiansConflictConfrontationCourageEmperorInjusticeKillLeadershipMurderPowerReconciliationRevengeTaking a StandTaking Action
Once upon a time, a bishop got in the face of an emperor. One had immeasurable power behind him. The other had nothing but righteous indignation on his side.
The outcome of the standoff surprised everyone who heard the story.
- ChristianityChristiansCrossDeathEmperorFightingGladiatorGod's PowerHistoryKillMartyrMurderPersecutionRomansTestimonyVictoryViolence
It was built to entertain the ruthless masses of the Roman Empire. The mighty Coliseum stood in the heart of Rome and played host to the gladiatorial games that would end up costing the lives of thousands upon thousands of contestants.
But the death toll rose even more when the Coliseum was used to kill followers of Jesus.
- BeliefsChristianityChristiansChurchEmperorFree WillGod's WillGovernmentGraceHistoryJudgmentKillLoveMercyMurderPowerReligionRomansThreatViolenceWorship
Theodosius had a plan. He wanted all the people of his empire to worship the one true God revealed in the Bible. A noble endeavor, for sure. But there was one fatal flaw in the emperor’s strategy:
Those he couldn’t lead to Jesus…he would send to Jesus!
Julian had a problem: Christianity was taking over his empire. But dealing with that problem highlighted an even bigger one: his authority as Emperor wasn’t sufficient to rid his land of Christians.
His military might was simply no match for their humility and sacrificial nature.
Around 175 AD, a girl of noble descent named Perpetua was born at Carthage, which happened to be the epicenter of Christianity’s growth in northern Africa. Believing Christianity undermined Roman patriotism, Emperor Septimius Severus began a focused persecution of the Christians in that province.
Perpetua and a few friends were immediately arrested…but that was only the beginning of their troubles.
Decius came from a long line of Roman Emperors who hated Christ and His followers. But unlike those who had gone before him, he would be quite successful in ridding the empire – and world – of the Jesus disease.
And, for the most part, he wouldn’t even have to use a sword to do it.