The ancient Romans were really nice people. Sure, their responsibilities demanded a certain demonstration of power, but given the large territory they governed, it was in their best interest to keep everyone happy.
One way they did this was to honor the gods of everyone in their kingdom. Rome built the Pantheon, which literally means "all the gods," so that every group would feel that their god was respected.
Everyone was fine with this arrangement except the Jews, whom the Romans confined to Palestine, and the Christians, who overran the borders of Israel and went international. The Christians insisted that they alone worshiped the one true God.
Put yourself in the emperor's sandals. What do you do with such people? You persecute them. You don't want to. You wonder, "Why can't we all just get along?" But you also know that if you allow the Christians' divisive message to continue, it won't be long till the fragile fabric of your multicultural empire will be destroyed. So for the sake of your kingdom, the Christians must go.
Christians today have the same message: "Jesus is Lord." We are also living in the same kind of diverse, multicultural world. We receive many benefits from our shrinking global village. We enjoy meeting people who are different, learning their customs, and eating their food.
But the one thing we're not allowed to say, the one thing that sounds dangerously divisive in our pluralistic world, is that Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). First-century Christians didn't shrink from this claim, but they aggressively and humbly announced that Jesus, not Caesar, is the world's only Lord. Now it's our turn. , Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey
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