By the year 54 A.D. Christianity was growing quickly. All throughout Rome, there began a strong Christian presence. The growth of Christianity however, did not occur because of a time of peace and tranquility.
It was the year 54 A.D. that Nero, emperor of Rome, came into power. Ten years later, as he visited his favorite vacation spot in Antium, which was located thirty five miles from Rome, a fire started and continued for six days. It destroyed about seventy percent of Rome and left countless people homeless. Rather than showing concern for his empire and also facing blame for the mass fire, Nero instead pointed his finger at the Christian population. He did this with no evidence whatsoever, but being emperor, he had the power to take out punishment on the innocent.
Some would think that this severely hurt the Christian population and slowed the movement, but it did just the opposite. God proved that He is more powerful than any human endeavors. Although Nero hunted the Christians down to be killed, they found methods of hiding from his soldiers. Not only that, but they spread the good news of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.
Why does this happen? Why does Christianity seem to grow and thrive more when there is trail? James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
When trials come, it gives the Church the opportunity to trust God, and when we trust God, He will work miracles and wonders in our lives. The early Christians displayed their faith in God through to their deaths, allowing for others to see their steadfastness. This testified to the fact that there must be something behind their faith other than empty blindness, causing more to believe and the Church to grow.
Eventually Christianity was accepted as a valid religion in the Roman Empire. Constantine, the emperor from 324-337 A.D. is considered the first Christian emperor of Rome. He was the one who made Christianity a legitimate religion, also helping to solve disputes in the Church. After his death in 337 A.D. the Empire began to decline until it fell in 476 A.D.
This however did not mark the end of Christianity. The good news of Jesus’ resurrection continued to spread across the world and still does. The New Testament alone being translated into about one thousand four hundred and forty two languages, making it the most translated historical document in existence.
Even through the burning of the Bible, persecution of Christians and all of Satan’s endeavors to stop it’s growth, the good news has traveled around the globe and even made it’s way through early Rome. Nero could not stop it, Satan can not stop it, and nothing ever will until Jesus returns.
His will shall be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.