This is a fictional piece of writing (although historically based) and is designed to mimic the perspective of someone living in first century Rome. This is part two in a two part series, click here to go to part one.
As I stated earlier, I became a follower of The Way two years ago. But it was just one year ago that the persecution really began to increase. It was just one year ago that the fire began. I remember the fire very clearly. It burned for days, ripping the city apart, destroying thousands of lives. I can still remember all the screams that echoed through the streets...
At first, the general population thought that Nero, our Emperor, started the fire. A rumor was even spreading that our Emperor was playing his lyre and singing while he watched the city of Rome burn!
Whether the rumor was actually true, I do not know. But I do know this: Our Emperor is so hated among many Romans that a rumor also began to spread that he, Nero, had ordered the fire to be lit! And that was when things really began to change.
You see, Nero had to find someone blame, other than himself, for starting the fire. And he decided to blame the fire on the one group of people that he get away with blaming: the Christians. Since we Christians proclaim the full and true gospel of Jesus Christ, we are often accused of displaying hatred towards mankind— which makes us the perfect group to blame the fire on since the general public already hates us. The people here in Rome see the gospel that we preach as absolute foolishness— even evil.
The persecution which began after the fire was probably the biggest persecution I have ever seen, and I can hardly believe that I am still alive. Somehow, by the will of God, I am still here, having watched horrific tortures inflicted upon many of my fellow slaves of God here in Rome.
I have seen fellow Christians being covered with beast skins, and then being torn up and killed by dogs. But even worse... I have seen many of my fellow Christians undergo the extreme penalty: the cross. And I have seen fellow Christians turned into human candlesticks—burning with fire in order to serve as lights when darkness falls. For all of the horrific pain that so many of the Christians here in Rome have suffered, it is comforting to know that all the pain suffered in this life is nothing in comparison to eternity with Jesus Christ.
Sometimes I’m tempted to think that all the kindness we show to the people of Rome is a waste, but then I remember the words of Christ: that I am to love my enemies, and pray for those who persecute me.
In these past few days, I have noticed a slight change in Rome. Even among those who despise us, there seems to be a feeling arising that Nero is being a bit too excessive and lengthy in his persecution. Perhaps our kindness has been seen... Regardless, I have no idea how much longer I have to live. I could die tomorrow, or today.
But I do know this:
My name is Titus.
And I am a slave. I belong to my earthly master: Gaius—but I ultimately belong to my Heavenly Master, God, who reigns over everyone.
Nero Blames Great Roman Fire On Christians (Part 1) - 64 AD (Church History)
Matthew 1:1-17 - The Lineage of the Messiah
The Gospel (1 of ∞)
Psalm 1:2 - Delight in the LORD's Instruction