Tiberius Caesar on King Jesus

Tiberius Caesar was Roman Emperor from AD 14-37, that is, during the earthly ministry of Jesus.  The Roman governor of Judea from AD 26-36 was Pontius Pilate, who reported directly to Tiberius.  Given the miracles attributed to Jesus, it’s reasonable to assume Pilate spoke to Tiberius regarding Jesus.  And in fact that’s what Eusebius reports.

Eusebius, the first great Church historian, writing in the early fourth century, states that Pilate, in accordance with the custom of rulers of nations to report unusual occurrences to the emperor, transmitted to Tiberius an account of the circumstances concerning Jesus’ miracles and resurrection, a report that was already spreading throughout Palestine.  Tiberius, apparently persuaded by Pilate’s report, submitted the matter to the Senate with the request Jesus be recognized as a god.  However, the Senate had not investigated the matter fully and rejected the request.

Pilate’s report must have had some effect on Tiberius though because he did not encourage persecution of Christians during his reign and actually threatened the death of those who did accuse and persecute Christians.  As a result, the kingdom of God advanced more freely than it might have otherwise under a more hostile ruler.

None of this is to suggest that Tiberius was a Christian. To the contrary, he was a perv who kept a harem of boys to use as objects of his sexual perversions.  When he finally died, even the Romans rejoiced.  What it does show, assuming Eusebius’s report is correct–and there is no persuasive reason to believe it is not–is that the evidence for Jesus’ miracles and resurrection was compelling enough to find its way to the most powerful earthly ruler of the day.  GS

Kingdom History: 1453-1455

For 1,000 years Constantinople was the capital of Christianity. It was the repository for Christian treasures, tradition and literature, including the Scripture. Then, in 1453, the Muslim Turks captured Constantinople, ending a millennium of Christian rule. Many Christians thought it a sign of the end of the world. How could it be anything other than that?

At the same time, halfway across Europe in a city named Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg was perfecting his new invention, the printing press. And in 1455, he would produce the first Bible by means of a printing press, the so-called Gutenberg Bible. The printing press, certainly one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind, would eventually make books, particularly the Bible, affordable for the common man. As a result, the printing press was the sina qua non of the Reformation.

God is the Great Auteur of history. The sacking of Constantinople by the Muslims left Christians inconsolable. They wondered how their God could permit such a travesty, and yet, the Lord had something greater in mind, the decentralization of Christianity through the propogation of the Word of God, which would eventually advance the kingdom of God to the ends of the earth. The Lord knew the kingdom of God does not need a centralized earthly administration because its King administrates in the hearts of man.