Mark 16:1-81 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Jesus had gone on. And He wasn't waiting for the press releases. The people to market Him were in hiding. The good press was so afraid. Some how. Some way. The Good News would go forth.
By the Will of God.
For centuries, the fragile papyrus of Scripture would be destroyed. Today, we can go to the store and just purchase what many people have died to bring us.
Blessed are You, Oh, LORD. Our Redemption. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Because Jesus died for us. And our faith in Him, is so important. We have this list.
When Jesus died, Claudius was Emperor of Rome. It was Claudius who imprisoned Paul, the first time. In the remote, far away country of Judea, the name of Jesus Christ and His promises and His word, created unease for Claudius. Imagine this could occur in the time there were no mass methods of communication. It is historical fact. 16 years after the death of Jesus.
Claudius – Imprisoned Christians. Reigned 25 -54 AD. Emperor during the death and resurrection of Jesus. Imprisoned Paul, for his first imprisonment, house arrest.
Nero – Tortured, burned and vilified Christians. Blamed them for burning Rome . 54- 68 AD
Galba – Put St. Paul and others to death. 69 AD
Otho & Vittelius– only 4 months as Emperor
Vespasian – Sent Titus to destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD, it was the natural end time of Jesus’ life. It is said it is the prophecies Jesus spoke of, His forgiveness was given to the people of His generation. In that destruction, the Temple of the Jews has not been built in 2,000 years. (In 300 A.D, a third temple had the materials gathered, but earthquake, war and fire put an end to that.) Jewish Sacrifice has not been practiced for 2,000 years, it is forsaken. The Jews don’t even know why. God said Jesus was the sacrifice for you.
Titus – See Arch of Titus, still standing, in Rome today. The Temple Tools minus the Ark of the Covenant, is carved in the marble. The profit from the sack of Jerusalem is used for the Coliseum. The Coliseum was used to burn Christians until Constantine naively adopted Christianity thinking Christians would be model citizens. Still a triumph for the 1,100 Bishops, Priests, Christians proclaiming Jesus Christ for 300 years even if they would be burned alive for it.
Domitian – Hauled St. John from Ephesus and exiled him to Patmos. Continued to be fearful of Christians. Conducted one of the fiercest battles against Christians. Under Domitan, the Church split in half. Domitan Heresy - the Church is only for saints. Domitan tortured until Christians surrendered every fragment of the Gospels and New Testament he could find. 81-96. Because of Domitan – we have the word traitor . Part of the Church wanted to forever exile anyone who lied to get out of torture or gave up Scripture. Forgiveness is the business of the Church and Jesus Christ.
Because of Domitan, we only have 15 fragments of the Gospel before 96 AD. But these portions exist and date to 30 AD. Hebrews 9 tells us when Paul wrote Hebrews, the Second Temple is in operation.
The Love of Jesus Christ opening His arms to slaves, lepers, women, the poor, the wife of the steward of Herod’s household, Nicodemus of the Sanhedrin Council and Josephus. Ian Wilson records a letter from a Jewish rabbi, of Lyracanthra, saying it would be the end of Judaism because of the incredible miracles of healing, restoration, life transformation and complete hope. These are letters confirming the Gospels show the Rabbi to be extremely unhappy. Josephus, the Israeli General turned traitor, turned Historian says Jesus was the Christ and his brother James formed the later Christian Church until martyred in 62 AD.
Trajan (c. 53 - 117) Philosopher Pliny the Younger's letter to Trajan on the subject of the Christians and the response of Trajan to Pliny the Younger. On Early Christian Writings. How to torture Christians to discredit the claims of Jesus Christ.
Hadrian (c. 76 - 138) Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- Persecution Under Trajen...... The forenamed authors, Antoninus and Equilius
Antoninus Pius (c. 86 - 161) Instead of stirring up persecution against the Christians, he extended to them the strong hand of his protection throughout the empire. Rather than give occasion to that oppression which he regarded as inseparable from an emperor's progress through his dominions, he was content to spend all the years of his reign in Rome, or its neighborhood. Under his patronage the science of jurisprudence was cultivated by men of high ability, and a number of humane and equitable enactments were passed in his name. 161 – 180 166 Christian persecution returned - The period was one of ever-increasing calamities. The earthquakes which had alarmed Asia under Antoninus were but the prelude to more serious convulsions. The Tiber rose to an unprecedented height and swept away the public granaries. This was followed by a famine, and that by a pestilence, which spread from Egypt and Ethiopia westward. Everywhere on the frontiers there were murmurs of insurrection or invasion. The year 166 was long known as the "annus calamitosus," and it was in that year that the persecution broke out and that Justin suffered. These calamities roused the superstition of the great mass of the people, and a wild fanaticism succeeded to an epicurean atheism. The gods were wrath, and what had roused their anger but the presence of those who denied them?
Marcus Aurelius (c. 121 - 180) The Thundering Legion incident (174)
During the war with the Quadi in 174 there took place the famous incident of the Thundering Legion (Legio Fulminatrix, Fulminea, Fulminata) which has been a cause of frequent controversy between Christian and non-Christian writers. The Roman army was surrounded by enemies with no chance of escape, when a storm burst. The rain poured down in refreshing showers on the Romans, while the enemy were scattered with lightning and hail. The parched and famishing Romans received the saving drops first on their faces and parched throats, and afterwards in their helmets and shields, to refresh their horses. Marcus obtained a glorious victory as a result of this extraordinary event, and his enemies were hopelessly overthrown.
That such an event did really happen is attested both by pagan and Christian writers. The former attribute the occurrence either to magic (Dion Cassius, LXXI, 8-10) or to the prayers of the emperor (Capitolinus, "Vita Marci", XXIV; Themistius, "Orat. XV ad Theod"; Claudian, "De Sext. Cons. Hon.", V, 340 sqq.; "Sibyl. Orac.", ed. Alezandre, XII, 196 sqq. Cf. Bellori, "La Colonne Antonine", and Eckhel, "Doctrina Nummorum", III, 64). The Christian writers attributed the fact to the prayers of the Christians who were in the army (Claudius Apollinaris in Eusebius, Church History V.5; Tertullian, "Apol.", v; ad Seap. c. iv), and soon there grew up a legend to the effect that in consequence of this miracle the emperor put a stop to the persecution of the Christians (cf. Euseb. and Tert. opp cit.).
It must be conceded that the testimony of Claudius is the most valuable of all that we possess, as he wrote within a few years of the event, and that all credit must be given to the prayers of the Christians, though it does not necessarily follow that we should accept the elaborate detail of the story as given by Tertullian and later writers 161 - 169
Lucius Verus (co-emperor) (c. 130 - 169) with Marcus Aurelius
180 - 192
Commodus (c. 161 - 192) All these who failed to follow the decree were brought to the Senate and were tried. This decree was a forceful attempt to put down Christians completely. But the followers who believed in Jesus Christ refused to accept this and many were ready to face the trial. "The Passion of the Scillitan Martyrs" written.
Persecution slows down -
Didius Julianus (193) .
Septimius Severus (193-211) Edict makes it illegal to convert to Christianity; persecution especially in North Africa, ca. 203: Perpetua & Felicity martyred in Carthage (North Africa)
Severus Alexander (222-235)
Gordian I and II (238)
Gordian III (238-244)
Philip the Arab (244-249) .
Trajanus Decius (249-251) 250: Major Empire-Wide Persecution; Christians required to participate in Emperor Worship. Bishop Fabian of Rome martyred; Bishop Cyprian of Carthage exiled; Origen of Alexandria tortured to death.
Trebonianus Gallus (251-253)
Aemilian (253) .
Valerian (253-260) ca. 258: Bishop Cyprian of Carthage martyred
Claudius Gothicus (268-270) .
Aurelian (270-275) some persecutions
Numerian (283-284) .
Diocletian (284-305) Major Empire-Wide Persecution begins ca. 303; confiscation of Christian churches and books; arrest, torture, and execution of many Christian leaders. Personally sends troops to Nazareth, the Bishop of Caesarea Eusibius records Diocletian offering clemency to the nephews carefully recording their ancestry to Jesus Christ. All refuse and are tortured and put to death. Diocletian sends troops to Turkey to place the Bishop Nicholas (also known as St. Nicholas or, in German, Santa Claus, in prison.
& Maximian (286-305) Major Empire-Wide Persecution begins ca. 303; confiscation of Christian Churches and books; arrest, torture, and execution of many Christian leaders
Constantius Chlorus (305-306)
Maxentius (306-312) .
Licinius (311-323) 311: Edict of Galerius: toleration for Christians, allowing them to worship openly
Constantine (307-337) 313: Edict of Constantine (Edict of Milan): toleration for all religions, including Christianity; ends persecutions
Constantine's position on the religions traditionally practiced in Rome evolved during his reign. At first he prohibited the construction of new temples and tolerated traditional sacrifices; by the end of his reign, he had begun to order the pillaging and tearing down of Roman temples. The day Christianity officially arrived in the Roman Empire was in 325 A.D. The First Council of Nicaea is regarded as the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church. Invited by Emperor Constantine, about 318 world-wide Bishops (including St. Nicholas), who had risked their lives and were condemned for serving Jesus, traveled across continents and oceans, continued to risk their lives in dangerous travel, to express the basis of the Church today and choose the Books of the Bible.
(* The above information was gathered from several sources and paraphrased.)
The triumph of Christianity is actually a very remarkable historical phenomenon. ...
We begin with a small group from the backwaters of the Roman Empire. Judea wasn't even a province to send someone important to govern. Syria was the overlord for tiny Judea. 16 years go by and Claudius is very worried. After two, three centuries go by, lo and behold that same group and its descendants have somehow taken over the Roman Empire and have become the official religion. Believing in Jesus Christ and having life transformations. The life and death of Jesus Christ and the promises He brought. John 1:35-42 ~ He said to them, “Come and you will see.”
Father God, let us always remember to be grateful to the many people who have protect our lives, our freedoms, and who proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord. Jesus Christ. Son of God. Knows your name. Today.