About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Acts 9:15 and 16 states
that Jesus commissioned the Apostle Paul to preach the gospel to
Israelis, to Gentiles, and Gentile kings.
In the process he would suffer immensely, which included
imprisonments and subsequent trials before the Jewish Sanhedrin and
Roman legal system. Acts 18
records Paul's first Roman trial before Gallio, the Roman governor of
In Acts 21 an ill advised
plan by the Christian elders in
Caesar was Nero.
Once knowing what kind of man Nero was, you'd scratch your head
and wonder why Paul would make such an appeal.
Of course, it was Jesus who commissioned Paul to stand before
Nero as seen in Acts 27:24.
Nero became emperor at
the age of 16. His mother
was Caesar Claudius' fourth wife. She
plotted against Claudius and had him poisoned so Nero could become
emperor. Since Nero was too
young to rule the empire effectively, he was tutored by a philosopher
politician named Seneca. In
all practicalities, Seneca ruled the empire until Nero became of age.
Nero's mother doted over
him to the extent that he turned into a spoiled brat of a teenager.
The life of luxury and fame went to his head.
He had little interest in ruling an empire.
His interest was in the arts. He
considered himself to be the best poet, musician, singer songwriter, and
actor in the empire. The
fact of the matter is that he was a pathetic example of all these
endeavors. To prove he was
talented he entered numerous contests and won them all.
His success wasn't based on his talent but based on him being the
emperor. If he lost, he'd
have the judges beheaded.
If Nero was a spoiled
brat of a teenager, he was an egotistical brat as an adult.
To make a long story short, anyone who opposed him was banished
to a far off place or executed. He
had an incestuous relationship with his mother, whom after many attempts
had her murdered. Besides
his extra marital affairs and numerous wives, his last spouse was a
In 64 A D a large portion
burned to the ground. Many
residents of the city blamed Nero for the fire.
In order to counteract this accusation Nero proclaimed the fire
was started by Christians. He
thus gathered about eight hundred or so Christians and had them executed
in the public forum. As a
form of entertainment to the masses, Christians had their arms and legs
ripped out of their sockets. They
were fed to hungry lions, burned to death, and, beheaded.
Why in the name of heaven would Jesus ever want Paul to stand
trial before this madman who hated Christians?
It's obvious that Nero
needed hear the gospel so he could turn his life over to Jesus, but
there was more to Paul standing before Nero than Nero's salvation.
The empire needed to hear the gospel at its highest level.
Once hearing the gospel, whether as an individual or a nation,
one is responsible for what one hears.
Nero heard the gospel for himself.
He rejected it and therefore at the Great White Throne judgment
as seen in Revelation 20, the rejected gospel will stand as a witness
against him. In other words,
the rejected gospel is the evidence by which God will judge Nero and
send him into the Lake
Like Paul, the prophets
of God have, and still are, proclaiming the gospel to the nations of the
world. The western nations,
in which many of us live, like the
The gospel message is not
only meant to lead people to salvation.
It is meant to stand as evidence in God's heavenly courtroom for
the nations. How our nations
respond to the gospel will determine how God responds to our nations.
It was for this reason that Paul proclaimed the Christian gospel
to Nero and the