According to the best historical estimates, in the year 40 AD¨remember Jesus started with a small group of 120 followers when He was going up to Heaven¨maybe 1/1000th of 1% of the population of the Roman Empire were followers of Jesus. Think of a number that small. By 350 A.D., just a few centuries later, 56% of the Roman Empire was Christian. That's a growth rate of about 40% per decade. That is staggering!
How did it happen? How did that tiny 1/1000th of 1% have such an impact on the world? Was it because they were better at arguing about religion? I don't think so. Was it because they had more resources and more money than anybody else? Clearly not. It was because the presence and way of Jesus in their midst created a community like the world had never seen. These words from the Book of Acts are kind of a summary of the description of the early church:
And then they enjoyed the favor of all the people. Eugene Peterson translates this:
By: John Ortberg
Category: Timeline After Jesus - Through 325 Years After