(May 16, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, solemnly opens ups on a reality that many Christians tend to either ignore or are unaware of…
Around 67 AD the apostle Paul was in a Roman prison awaiting execution under the order of the Roman Emperor Nero who intensely hated Christians.
As he waited for the sentence to be carried out, he wrote to Timothy, ‘The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing’ (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
About ten years earlier Paul had written in his letter to the Christians living in Rome, ‘I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world’ (Romans 1:8).
In his commentary The Epistle to the Romans the late theologian Karl Barth made the following comment on this Romans 1 verse: ‘The resurrection has proved its power; there are Christians – even in Rome.’ Barth was explaining that Paul was rejoicing and thanking God because the message of Christ crucified and resurrected had penetrated right to the heart of the Roman Empire, to Rome itself, where Christians were living and worshipping.
How amazing it is that within about 25 years from the resurrection of Jesus the good news of his redeeming love and gifts of forgiveness and eternal life had spread ‘all over the world.’ Without the help of mass evangelistic rallies and without the modern aids of radio, television and Facebook the Christian gospel spread like a fire through the simple and effective method of personal witnessing.
And so the Christian message continued of spread for the following centuries and in 311 AD the Roman emperor professed his Christian faith.
1. The successful penetration of the Christian message throughout the world came at a cost!
First of all, the greatest cost of all, the suffering and death of Jesus. (more…)