Following the Footsteps of Paul: Rome
From Florence we journeyed by train to Rome. Many years ago I spent one night in Rome and promised myself that someday, God willing, I would come back and give it more time.
This city has spanned over 2700 years and for a thousand years it ruled a vast empire. Rome began as a small Latin village in 753BCE. Over time it became the dominant city in the region. Rome was almost always at war with someone. If a neighbour rattled a sabre or gave them trouble, Rome would send its legions and conquer. It was a tenacious and determined opponent. They simply did not give up until they had overcome resistance. In this way Rome spread across the Mediterranean world, throughout Persia, all the way to Egypt and across Northern Africa.
By the first century BC, Rome was banging on Israel’s door. The Jews resisted Rome’s expansion into Israel – to no avail. King Herod was put in power by Rome with almost unlimited authority. Here is where this city’s history intersects with our story.
Luke 2:1 says, “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.”
From the city of Rome, came a decree that would bring Joseph from Nazareth, along with his wife Mary, to Bethlehem, just in time for a baby to born. God used the ruler of a vast empire to put the birth of His Son in the right place at the right time and so fulfil the prophecy;
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
Click the photos below to view them full-size…