The Circus Maximus tells the story of Christian persecution and yet an allusion of the preaching of the gospel.
[Steve Myers] Standing at the Circus Maximus, where Christians were not only persecuted but killed for entertainment value. How could that be? It’s amazing that Christians decided, made a conscious decision, they were not going to follow the state. They were not going to follow the order of the Roman government, and they were going to go against that order and believe the truth of the gospel message. And so they were persecuted and they were killed because they wouldn’t follow the state.
Now, you begin to think about that a little bit – could that happen today? Do we see that happening today? If we don’t accept the moral standards, if we don’t accept the standards of society around us, could we be persecuted? Well, what’s happened to things like prayer in school? What’s happened to other issues that we face in America? You know, when we don’t – it’s not even just accepting those things. If we don’t acknowledge them, and more than accept them, we don’t say that these are wonderful values to have, we can run into persecution. Do you see that as a possibility coming down the line? I think it is a definite possibility.
Now, it is interesting though – in spite of the fact that we face those kinds of things, there is a passage in Romans 8:35 that I think is important to keep in mind. You think about the Christians that were persecuted and killed here – Paul raised the question in Romans 8:31. He said, “What shall we say to these things?” he says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” in fact, he says, “Who can bring a charge against God’s elect?”. Well, in this case, it was Caesar. In our case, we know ultimately the spiritual accusations are by Satan the Devil. “Who is it that condemns?”. Well, Nero might have been the one that condemned those Christians, but in verse 34 of Romans 8, he says we might be condemned by Satan, we might be condemned by leaders, we might be condemned by a government, but guess what? He went on to say, “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who even is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:31-34)
We have One that is far above the Caesars of Rome, far above the governments that are surrounding us today. We have the help and encouragement of God Himself, who is on our side.
And so, we don’t have to fret. We don’t have to be worried. We can take comfort in the fact that even though we stand for the truth of God’s word, the gospel message, that we may be persecuted, but in the end, we win. Just look across the hill. What happened to Caesar? Ultimately, it all came to an end. ultimately, man’s society will come to an end, and Jesus Christ will return, not with man’s government, but with the kingdom of God. So take heart.
That’s BT Daily. We’ll see you next time.