Timeline After Jesus - Through 325 Years After
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Notable Aspects
  • Jesus' followers lived in relative obscurity for several decades after Jesus
  • Paul was primarily responsible for expanding the message of Jesus outside of the Jewish community
  • Followers of Jesus were persecuted and martyred from immediately after Jesus
  • "Christianity" did not become a legally recognized religion until a quarter millennium after Jesus' birth
  • 300 years after the Romans executed Jesus, the Roman Emperor Constantine became a follower of Jesus

Date (AD) Event / Stage
30 Jesus Executed on the Cross
30 Jesus' followers imprisoned and ordered not to speak regarding Jesus' death and Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
46 Paul begins missionary journeys
49 Jews expelled from Rome
62 Paul executed in Rome
64 Emperor Nero starts persecuting followers of Jesus
66 Jews begin revolt against Rome
70 Roman commander Titus captures Jerusalem and destroys Jewish Temple
132 Jews revolt against Rome again
135 Rome squashes revolt and makes Jerusalem a Roman city
161-260 Persecution of Jesus' followers intensified and continued by Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius, Decious, Gallus, Valerian
261 Emperor Gallienus's edict makes Christianity a legal religion
325 Emperor Constantine embraces and supports Christianity - making the church an institution of wealth and power

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Timeline After Jesus - Through 325 Years After
There's a book by a sociologist named Rodney Stark. Its subtitle is:
  • How the Obscure Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religion in the Western World in a Few Centuries.

    According to the best historical estimates, in the year 40 AD¨remember Jesus started with a small group of 120 followers when He was going up to Heaven¨maybe 1/1000th of 1% of the population of the Roman Empire were followers of Jesus. Think of a number that small. By 350 A.D., just a few centuries later, 56% of the Roman Empire was Christian. That's a growth rate of about 40% per decade. That is staggering!

    How did it happen? How did that tiny 1/1000th of 1% have such an impact on the world? Was it because they were better at arguing about religion? I don't think so. Was it because they had more resources and more money than anybody else? Clearly not. It was because the presence and way of Jesus in their midst created a community like the world had never seen. These words from the Book of Acts are kind of a summary of the description of the early church:

  • They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching ''to the way of Jesus , to the way of Christ'' and to the fellowship ''They gathered to learn; they got to know each other; they got real; they confessed.'', to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe by what God was doing in their midst. They became so generous there were no needy persons among them. ''Acts 2:42-47''

    And then they enjoyed the favor of all the people. Eugene Peterson translates this:

  • And people liked what they saw. People looked at the church, and they liked what they saw.

    By: John Ortberg
    Category: Timeline After Jesus - Through 325 Years After
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