Andy Stanley — Showing Up
Today, we associate Rome with the Catholic Church, but if you could go back in time and tell first-century Christians living in Rome that their city would one day be full of ornate crosses celebrating Jesus, they wouldn’t believe you.
They lived in an environment hostile to their faith. People around them considered them members of a strange cult. They faced intense persecution. The emperor Nero falsely accused them of setting the Great Roman Fire of 64 AD and punished them by crucifying them and feeding them to dogs. The apostles Peter and Paul were martyred during Nero’s persecution.
Yet by the third century, Christianity had grown into the official religion of Rome. How did such a hated, powerless people become so influential?