When Pastor Nathan told me about his sermon plans for Romans, I was a bit stumped when it came to including our children. I always try to have something on Sundays that incorporates the sermon into what they are doing in the Prayground, or the activity bags. Romans is not the easiest book to have activities to keep children engaged. I decided we would do some activities on early Rome.
In the last couple years, helping my boys with their schoolwork, I have become fascinated by World History and Bible History and how they tie together. It is something I wish I had learned together.
In early Rome it was illegal to be Christian so the people used the Ichthys, or fish, to symbolize they were Christian. This let other Christians know it was safe to come and worship. Ichthys is the first initials of the Greek words “JESUS CHRIST, SON OF GOD, SAVIOR” or Ieasous Christos Theou Uiou Soter. We still use this symbol today to let others know that we are Christian.
We owe a great deal of the spread of Christianity in the West to Emperor Constantine. In 313 AD he made Christianity legal. Later he gathered Christian leaders and formed the Council of Nicene (term sound familiar?). There the Council put together a list of beliefs and this became known as the Nicene Creed.
Before Constantine became the sole Emperor he had to defeat the other three Roman Emperors. Before his battle of Milvian Bridge, he and his forces saw a light in the sky that was a cross and the words, “in this sign conquer.” He had this symbol put on all the shields and went into battle with it. He won and gave victory to God. This cross is what we know as the Chi Rio Cross. Constantine built more churches in Jerusalem and Rome than any other ruler. He also allowed Christians to be in the military, government, and stop paying taxes.
Have you ever heard all roads lead to Rome? Well, if the Romans had not built such a wonderful network of roads, travel would not have been as easy. This allowed for the spread of the gospel. If Christianity spread fast and wide in a world with no electronic technology, what can we do differently to spread the news? Early Christians were so excited to tell the news and they were often at risk of being a martyr. With all the technology at our hands we should be just as enthusiastic and spread that news 10,000x faster. So many people have made it easy for us to do this.
Christian Education Coordinator