The Roman World

A Reading for Christmas


The reading, designed for three readers who speak in turn, shows that Christ was born only after the hand of God had made the world ready for the rapid spread of the gospel.

Reader 1: The years before the coming of Jesus were a time of preparation.

Reader 2: Under God's direction, the world was made ready for the preaching of the gospel and for the founding of a church that would span all nations, tribes, and languages.

Reader 3: God prepared the country of Palestine to be the birthplace of His Son.

Reader 1: Palestine was the crossroads of three continents. From there the gospel was able to spread rapidly to the ends of the earth.

Reader 3: God set aside a special people, the Jews, and through chosen messengers He gave them prophecies of the coming Redeemer.

Reader 2: When the Redeemer came, He presented Himself as the One whom the Jews had longed to see. Most Jews rejected Him, but the few who listened became the nucleus of the new church.

Reader 3: God also prepared a language, Greek, to be the main vehicle of gospel testimony throughout the known world.

Reader 1: Greek was the ideal language for expressing the great doctrinal truths of Christianity. In the time before Jesus' birth, God so directed history that Greek became the second language of all peoples from Spain to Persia. There were no language barriers to the wide circulation of the New Testament, written in Greek.

Reader 3: God brought a large part of the world's population under the control of the Roman Empire.

Reader 2: The Romans were marvelous builders of roads. By the first century AD, travel was easier throughout the Roman world than at any previous time in history. Christian evangelists and laymen moved easily throughout the empire.

Reader 3: The Romans brought peace over a wide area.

Reader 1: Progress of the gospel was not slowed by wars and civil disruptions.

Reader 2: Along with peace came prosperity.

Reader 1: People who are not on the brink of starvation can look beyond the immediate moment and consider the claims of a new religion.

Reader 2: The great Roman peace—called the Pax Romana—began in the reign of Emperor Augustus, and it was in the reign of this emperor that Jesus Christ was born.

Reader 3: It is obvious that the coming of Jesus was carefully planned. It was no accident or careless afterthought. The event illustrates the perfect power and wisdom that oversees every detail of human affairs.


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