In the 90s AD, Domitian ruled as emperor over Rome. His cruelty rivaled that of Nero. He insisted he be worshiped as a god. Christians, of course, could not participate in the rituals of this emperor cult. That left them vulnerable, and that vulnerability led to persecution.
The question never left the early decades of the church or even the early centuries of the church. The question was this: Caesar or Christ?
Domitian’s edict made that question palpable, even visceral. Statues of him were sent all over the empire. On appointed days, feasts were held, and all of the populace was required to pass before the cast image of Domitian and bow before him. If a person did not bow, they were taken to the colosseums and ripped apart by wild animals.
“When the question is put to us–Caesar or Christ—may we be among those who don’t shrink back. May we take our stand alongside the first-century church and the church through the centuries. May we not throw away our confidence.” – A Time for Confidence by Stephen Nichols
Romans 10:9 in the NKJV says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
If you were put in this position, “Caesar or Christ”, which would you choose?