Jesus and the Romans

I recently posted that the Romans may have regarded Jesus as a small preacher. But after I remembered John 18 with some soldiers under a tribune, I reconsidered my opinion. Could there be Roman collision with Jesus before His arrest? Or besides the Crucifixion was it merely a Jewish religious affair?

It would seem that earlier in HIS life, the Romans were not HIS enemies. After all, He told people to pay their taxes, render unto Caesar, walk extra miles, etc; if anything, He was a calming force between his Jewish fellows and the hated Roman presence.

But after He rode into Jerusalem at the head of His own procession, all bets were off.


The Romans regarded Jesus as a reble who would uproot the Empire and try to lead a rebellion against it in the land of Palestine.

If Jesus was executed for sedition by the Romans, then how do we account for the events described in Acts where Jesus’s known followers not only openly preach in his name, but also recruit thousands of new members without the Romans lifting a finger to stop them?

We attribute it to the Holy Spirit. After all the Jews were expelled from Rome by the year 49 (just a few years later.) Then by the year 62 Paul himself was martyred there. Then came the persecution by Nero shortly after. We can’t say that they were friendly to the followers of Jesus, they were indeed lifting fingers to stop them.

While the Holy Spirit is said to have inspired the disciples to leave their hiding place on Pentecost, I’ve never heard it said that the Holy Spirit caused the apparent total indifference of the Romans to their provocative public activities in Jerusalem just seven weeks after Jesus was executed for sedition. According to Acts, it’s as though the Romans completely forgot who Jesus and his disciples were.

Most if not all of the Roman actions against Jesus and his followers were at the behest and encouraged by the second temple high priesthood, and this through to the destruction of the Temple. This is a little-known aspect of early Christian history, and I would recommend reading Hagan’s books on the subject.

The Roman soldiers could have cared less about the Jews. They either stayed in major cities like Caesarea or Sepphis or Jerusalem in Herod’s Palace grounds, or were stationed in guard houses along major trade roads.

Who is this Hagan dude and why do you endorse him?

I’ve been interested in Christian history all my life but have never found anything close to John Hagan’s.

I realize now that most “historians” start from the New Testament and then use other sources to fill in the perceived historical gaps. And if you are into theology, you’re just looking for the history that supports your beliefs anyway so things can get skewed quickly or you lose the real flavor of the times.

In contrast, Hagan starts with the secular sources on Roman history and reconstructs that era, then goes into Jewish history and reconstructs it (Josephus mainly), and only THEN goes to the New Testament and sees how things fit in to what we know is true.

In his first book, for instance, we find that the most powerful man in the Roman East was in Jerusalem during the Passover when Jesus was crucified. Hagan speculates that Jesus was quickly done away with early in the Passover before the official- General Lucius Vitellius- arrived. Also, during that year (A.D. 36) not only was there a war going with Arabia (Nabotea) but also with the Parthian Empire- “Rumors of Wars” indeed!!

His second book looks at Paul the Apostle and the Jewish revolt. What is really surprising is the High Priests’ involvement in the early Christian persecutions including being behind the persecutions in Rome that led to the executions of Paul and Peter.

So it is not a religious apologist effort, but a straight secular look at things, with a lot of quotes included from pertinent sources to support his conclusions.

Do a google and find them on Amazon, Dude.

So the Romans wouldn’t have cared that the known followers of a man that they had recently executed for sedition were not only openly preaching in Jerusalem that he had risen from the dead, but were also publicly recruiting thousands of new followers? I find that unlikely.

Also, I think you do your readers a disservice by not informing them that “John Hagan” is a pseudonym and that we really don’t know who that is.

Yes, John Hagen is apparently a pseudonym.

Pilate didn’t even want to execute Jesus, and he was happy when it was over and done with. He probably did go against the Samaritans a few months later thinking that the leader was Jesus who had escaped execution. It is reasonable to assume that the high priests wear the ones who strongly suggested this to him.

But it turned out not to be Jesus, and Pilate lost his job because of it when Vitellius returned to Jerusalem in ad 37 for the Passover.

But the Romans could care less about the early Christians as long as they behaved themselves. That was the same for all people who lived within the empire.

Until they got into minutia like not worshipping Caesar, it goes without saying.


You are so wrong on that worshipping Caesar shtick. You must be part of the Jesus Seminarians, they really go for that stuff. Make it up, really.

Well the Romans actually considered the Jews as athiests because they would not acknowledge Caesar.

Is there any proof that the war between Herod and Aretas was immediately after the death of John the Baptist? And also Eusebius says that Jesus died 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. So A.D, 30.

Eusebius wrote almost 300 years after the fact. He’s good, but not infallible- though he is the only coherant source we have on a lot of early church happenings.

A late crucifixion date has JB being beheaded by Antipas’ men some weeks or months before the Passover of A.D. 35 , with Antipas attempting to invade Nabotea with his army in the early fall of A.D. 35.

Interesting, as that would involve a LORD in His 40s. (AD 35 - 6BC).

Somehow, a greyheaded LORD just would not seem to work as an icon.


What if Jesus were-gasp!-BALD?!

I shudder at the thought.

In John, FWIW, a year before his crucifixion Jewish Elders criticized him for preaching with authority even though he was NOT YET FIFTY.

Yep, I thought of that verse too.

But Eusebius was an educated man who had access to Josephus. So even though he wrote nearly 3 centuries later, he should not be disregarded. And Josephus does not state anywhere that these events happened immediately before the death of the Baptist.

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