I’m currently reading Clement of Rome’s first epistle to the church at Corinth. In it, he states:
“He [Paul] taught righteousness to all the world; and after reaching the furthest limits of the West, and bearing his testimony befor ekings and rulers, he passed out of this world and was received into the holy places.” (First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, III)
It would appear that after Paul was placed under house arrest at the end of Acts, he was released at some point. We know that Paul intended to go to Spain (Romans 15:24) after having been at Rome.
What I find so fascinating by this is that Christianity – a movement begun in a far eastern province of the Roman Empire had spread, within just a few years, to the furthest reaches of the Empire in the West.
To me, this shows not only the power of the Gospel, but the sense of urgency that the early Church had. Despite multiple persecutions, during the time of the Apostles, just a few decades, it had already covered the Empire.
Compare that to today’s Christians who seem far more concerned with ‘health and wealth,’ or having programs that reach out to the current membership. The Christians during the time of Paul (and Clement) sought to impact their local communities and spread outward into all areas of the world. Why don’t we mimick these early Christians?