“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16 (The Holy Bible). The Roman Empire played a crucial role in fulfilling Jesus’ purpose and the spread of the Word of God. The Roman Empire’s expansion provided a pathway for the expansion of the Word of God to reach Judaea and the world. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world” Romans 1:8 (The Holy Bible). In this verse Paul is speaking to the people in Rome who are loved by God. Rome fell and rose due to power struggles between kings, magistrates, and consuls (History Editors 2018). Rome underwent another political change by establishing a Republic form of government (Beck et.al 2012). Rome’s ambitions allowed the growth of the gospel. The Lord used the Roman Empire’s achievements, culture, and conditions for His message of salvation to reach the entire world.
Rome under the reign of kings led the Roman people to establish a republic form of government. The republic form of government empowered its citizens [male citizens]. “A republic is a form of government in which power rests with citizens who have the right to vote for their leaders” (Beck et. al, 2012, p. 156). Two distinct groups, the practitioner and the plebeians struggle for political power. The practitioner were the wealthy landowners, who held the most influential power (Beck et. al, 2012). The plebeians were the common farmers, artisans, and merchants, who were mainly the population (Beck et. al, 2012). Rome established a balanced government through the Twelve Tables. The Twelve Tables is the written law code. “The laws were carved on twelve tables or tablets that were hung in the Forum” (Beck et. al, 2012, p. 156).
Julius Caesar was a Roman general who turned Roman Republic into the Roman Empire (Biography Editors, 2014). Julius Caesar significantly transformed Roman Republic into Roman Empire by greatly expanding its geographic reach and establishing its imperial system (Biography Editors, 2014). When Julius Caesar was 31 years old, he had fought in many battles and became very involved with Roman politics (Biography Editors, 2014). Julius Caesar then became the dictator of the Roman Empire (Biography Editors, 2014). Internal conflicts that developed during Julius Caesar of the Old Empire, led to the rise of Octavian and the New Empire. The rise of the New Roman Empire (Ancient History Encyclopedia). During Octavian’s reign, reformation of laws brought political stability. Peace and prosperity spread throughout the entire kingdom during His reign (Theology Curator). “Historians are in agreement that this is the point at which the history of Rome ends and the history of the Roman Empire begins” (Mark, 2009).
Rome’s ambition to conquer the world allowed for the growth of the Gospel of Christ. In 27 B.C. Rome reached a new point in their empire with an expanded population and an increased in their territory holdings all over the world (Legends and Chronicles). With the development of military roads this allowed the increased of transporting the Gospel to the entire known world (Legends and Chronicles). Rome’s military conquests led directly to its cultural growth as a civilization (History Editors 2018). “Ancient Rome was one of the most innovated and advance thinking civilizations that has ever existed” (Legend and Chronicles).
Rome’s advancement in their road system allow for the Word of God to travel throughout the region and then reaching out to us. Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.” Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty” (The Holy Bible). God knew that Rome would play an important part in spreading the gospel to the Roman Empire and then to the surrounding regions, nations, and then to us. “As the empire grew, so, too did a new religion called Christianity” (Beck et. al, 2012, p. 168). Christianity focuses in a personal relationship between God and the person. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us” 1 John 4:10 (The Holy Bible). My daily walk with the Lord is very important to me because in Him we have salvation. Many Romans believed in their Roman gods, but they were not as connected as the people who practice Christianity. As a Christian, I am connected to God in everything that I do.
Rome’s geographic location also aided the spread of the gospel. Rome was established on farming land and it has a unique position for traffic flow near the riverbank allowed people to travel from north to south (Legend and Chronicles). “Rome grew from a small settlement to a mighty civilization that eventually conquered the Mediterranean world” (Beck et. al, 2012, p. 155). “Rome would build one of the most famous and influential empires in history”(Beck et. al, 2012, p. 155). Rome became a successful civilization because of its strategic location and the rich land it provided the people (Beck et. al, 2012). The geographic location of Rome would be one of the most significant reasons that the gospel would spread throughout the region like wildfire. Rome was established on a seven rolling hills near the Tiber River (Beck et. al, 2012). Rome became a pathway for commercial growth, which lead to one of the most historic moments, the life of Jesus, His death and resurrection, and His message of love and salvation.
In 63 B.C. the Roman power spread throughout Judea (Beck et. al, 2012). In A.D. 6 Rome took control of the Jewish kingdom and it became a Roman providence (Beck et. al, 2012). After Rome took control the Jews believed that they would be rescued by a Messiah, that God had promised to send to restore the kingdom (Beck et. al, 2012). The Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was born approximately 6 to 4 B.C. in Bethlehem in Judea (Beck et. al, 2012). Jesus ministry began at the age of 30. During this time Jesus shared the love of God, God’s message of love, hope, and salvation, and performed miracles. He also taught in the belief of one God, and the Ten Commandments. The Gospel was written by Jesus’ disciples, called apostles. As Jesus and His message became known, Jesus had a strong group that supported Him. Jesus would later be accused of defying the authority of Rome and would be sentenced to be crucified (Beck et. al, 2012). When Jesus died, He was buried in a tomb, but at the third day He rose and conquered death. “That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” I Corinthians 15:4 (The Holy Bible). When the disciples heard this and Jesus started to appear to them, they believed that Jesus indeed is the true Messiah. The disciples continued to spread God’s message of salvation.
The Roman Empire common language was Latin and Greek (Beck et. al, 2012). Latin facilitated the opportunity for everyone in the empire to hear the Gospel. “Romans benefited greatly from contact with different cultures such as the Greeks” (History Editors 2018). “The first Roman literature appeared around 240 B.C. with translation of Greek classics into Latin” (History Editors 2018). These languages allowed for the message to be easily understood (Beck et. al, 2012). The Pax Romana enable traveling and the exchange of different beliefs safe this opened a way for Christianity to reach other parts of the area. Paul was a Jewish man, who was not Jesus’ disciples, made it his mission to spread God’s message. His teaching focused on Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins and to give us eternal life (Beck et. al, 2012). “It was this universality that enabled Christianity to become more than just a local religion” (Beck et. al, 2012, p. 170). Late third century A.D. there were millions of Christians in Rome (Beck et. al, 2012). Christianity expanded because it welcomed everyone, gave hope, allowed for people to have a personal relationship with God, and promised eternal life (Beck et. al, 2012). In A.D. 312 a Roman emperor Constantine who was battling a rival, he prayed and it was claimed that he saw a cross- a Christian symbol (Beck et. al, 20120. He then ordered Christian symbols on their soldiers shields (Beck et. al, 2012). He was victorious and claimed he won because of the Christian God, making Christianity to be one of the religions approved by the emperor (Beck et. al, 2012).
Jesus radically changes the world by fulfilling His purpose and by establishing the submission to authority. For example, He says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” Romans 13:1 (The Holy Bible). Jesus’ emphasis was to understand the importance of following rules that were established by authority. Romans 13:2 states that “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (The Holy Bible).
From the very beginning, God knew who would be in authority at that specific time and place in history to fulfill His promise through Jesus and the spread of the gospel. These Roman Empire discoveries provided a way to strengthen their government and the spread of the Gospel is strongly supported in the following verse, “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” Romans 13:4 (The Holy Bible). God makes it known to us that the only authority we are under is God. We are to submit to the earth authority because God has placed those leaders there. I am under God’s authority, but He tells us to honor our father and mother. It is my responsibility to respect and listen to my parents.
Also, I am to follow the laws of the earth such as traffic laws- no speeding, wearing my seatbelt, and using my traffic signals when turning. If I do not follow these laws and I am stopped by a police officer, unless he gives me a warning, then I would receive a traffic ticket. In the state of Arkansas, first offense of a speeding violation includes $100 in fines and/or a maximum of 10 days in jail (McCurley 2018). Second offense speeding violation is $200 in fines and/or a maximum of 20 days in jail (McCurley 2018). If the speeding violation is considered reckless driving then the fine is $500 and/or a maximum of 90 days in jail (McCurley). Authority was important for God and the Roman Empire. The Bible states, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good” Titus 3:1 (The Holy Bible).
Rome underwent different changes and developments to become a wealthy and effective empire. “Without these changes it is unlikely that the Romans would have been as successful and widespread as they were” (Legend and Chronicles). This is a great proof that due to these changes that Rome experienced, allowed for Rome to become successful empire and it opened a way for their empire to expand in the most efficient method possible. This proof became a bridge for Jesus’ message to reach everyone, and spread God’s love for those who believe in Him. The more Rome spread, the more the Gospel became known to men.
Rome gave power to citizens. Rome became a balanced government. The Lord utilized Rome to fulfill His promises and the spread of the gospel. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (The Holy Bible). Although we are all sinners God’s love is for everyone. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (The Holy Bible). Through Jesus’ resurrection, we have eternal life. “We were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (The Holy Bible). The spread of the gospel extended across Rome and cities surrounding it, and all over the world through the growth of Rome. The Lord used the Roman Empire’s achievements, culture, and conditions for His message of hope and salvation to reach the entire world.
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