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Daily Bread (Persecution That Backfired)

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Persecution That Backfired

Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. —1 Peter 2:21

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In AD 64, someone set fire to Rome. A few days later, two-thirds of the city lay in smoldering ruins. A rumor spread that the emperor Nero had set the fire because he wanted to rebuild the city and name it after himself. Needing a scapegoat to get himself off the proverbial hot-seat, he chose to blame a defenseless and unpopular minority—Christians. He then initiated such intense persecution that he’s been referred to as the first Antichrist. It’s believed that both Peter and Paul were martyred during this time.

Because Christianity was new and its followers still relatively few, the sadistic treatment that Nero leveled against believers, which included using them as human torches to light his palace garden, continued with little opposition.

His persecution eventually backfired, however. Instead of weakening the new faith, it strengthened it. History tells us that within a few hundred years Christianity became so influential that Emperor Constantine made it the official religion of the Roman Empire.

God always has a purpose in persecution. He will use it for good if we follow the example of Christ, who, “when He suffered, He . . . committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). —Julie Ackerman Link

The purposes of God are right,
Although we may not see
Just how He works all things for good
And transforms tragedy. —Sper

It is better to suffer for the cause of Christ than for the cause of Christ to suffer.

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