The genius of the gospel is that God’s grace is always demonstrated in weakness. The triumph of the gospel goes forward through weakness. In your mind’s eye, come with me back to the 4th century to the Roman Coliseum.
One voice tried to rise above fifty thousand. For Christ’s sake, stop! The 50,000 voices grown strident by intoxicating beverages and blood lust overwhelmed Telemacus, a little monk from North Africa. Telemacus ran to the floor of the Coliseum and pushed his way between two gladiators and said: “For Christ’s sake stop” (three times). The gladiators stood astonished with their weapons in hand. It seemed incredible, unbelievable, and certainly intolerable. How dare he try to stop their sport. The crowd pummeled Telemacus with a hail of stones. He died. It seemed so worthless and so useless. The gladiators resumed their conflict and more blood was mixed with Telemacus’. However, this incident plagued the conscience of the Roman Emperor Honorius. He outlawed the gladiatorial combat three days later. The last known gladiator fight in Rome was on January 1, 404 AD. One man standing for Christ turned back the evil of an empire.
Will Durant, who is no friend to Christianity and an agnostic historian, claimed that “Caesar and Christ had met in the arena that day and Christ had won!”
- Illustration taken from Bryan Chapell’s sermon on Ephesians 1