Great Fire of Rome – 1,953 Years Ago Today


For those of you too young to remember, something really big happened this day in history, 64 A.D. In the merchant area of Rome, a fire broke out. It soon burned out of control. Reportedly, Nero, the Roman Emperor, played his lyre and continued to sing while watching the fire blaze form a safe distance.

The fire burned out of control for six days. Then Nero blamed the Christian community for the fire, initiating the first great persecution of the Christians in Rome.

By July 19, the population fled to unaffected areas of the city, and then to open fields and rural roads outside of Rome. Looters and arsonists were reported to have spread the flames. Of Rome’s 14 districts, three were completely devastated and only four completely escaped damage.

We learn two things from the great fire of Rome. First, Christians can expect persecution. It was predicted in Scripture, and it will only get worse. Doing the right thing only makes us a bigger target.

Second, much of life is beyond our control and can be lost without notice. Thousands went to bed the night of July 18, fully expecting to awake the next morning, ready to go about the day’s business. But for many there was no “next morning.”

Do not take another day for granted. Don’t live in the past, for it is gone. Don’t live in the future, for it may never come. Live for today. Make it count – for you and those you love the most.


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