What man builds can come down in an instant. On July 18, 64 A.D., a fire erupted in the world’s greatest city. The market area of Rome is where the flames were first seen. Rapidly, the fire spread to the center of the city. When the flames finally died out more than a week later, nearly two-thirds of Rome had been destroyed.
Emperor Nero used the fire as an opportunity to rebuild Rome in a more orderly Greek style and began construction on a massive palace called the Domus Aurea. Some speculated that the emperor had ordered the burning of Rome to indulge his architectural tastes, but he was away in Antium when the conflagration began.
According to later Roman historians, Nero blamed members of the “mysterious Christian cult” for the fire and launched the first Roman persecution of Christians in response.
Of course, the burning of Rome was a tragedy of international proportion. But it also reminds us that human nature has not changed. When something goes wrong, we still play the blame game. And far too often, Christians are blamed for the problems of the world.