”Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.” (Romans 16:15)
In A.D. 95, some Roman aristocrats had become Christians, including Flavius Clemens and his wife Domitilla, a woman who gave her name to the earliest Christian graveyard in Rome. Flavius was executed after being charged with “atheism,” which was, interestingly, a common charge used in those days against Christians. Domitilla was not executed, but was merely banished to the island of Pontia, her 'lighter punishment' probably due to the fact that she was the niece of Domitian, the reigning emperor. But she was released the following year. Since the fourth century, the Church has associated Nereus of Romans 16:15 with this Domitilla, so it could even be that Nereus was the one who brought the gospel to this prominent household and eventually led to the many Christian martyrdoms in Rome.
When we examine Romans 16 closely (see my previous two posts), we begin to get a sense of how close these people were to Paul, even though they were many miles apart. We see how much Paul loved them, as he calls them “beloved” and praises them for their faithful service to one another and to him, and for their labors in the Lord. All born-again (regenerated) Christians, no matter whether they are Reformed Baptists or tongue-speaking Charismatics, or whether they are an all-black congregation or an all-white congregation, are all members of the one body of Jesus Christ, and should be loved and appreciated by all others who are true Christians.
”Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Speaking of concern and love for other Christians, many Christians in the United States are often unaware of the Christians in other countries who suffer horribly on a daily basis because of their faith in Christ Jesus.
Christians in other countries, especially Muslim and Communist countries, have been persecuted, tortured, imprisoned, and martyred ever since the first century, and even much more so today (though it would go completely against the anti-Christian agenda of the liberal news media to report any of it). Even back in the 1980’s, I was keeping up with reports of some of the Christians in the former U.S.S.R. who were being attacked, poisoned, tortured by electrical shock treatments, imprisoned, etc. Following is one of the latest reports of Christian persecution, this one in China:
CHINA - House Church Leader Sentenced to "Re-education Through Labor"
On Oct. 30, house church leader Pastor Zhu Baoguo was sentenced to one year "re-education through labor" on charges of being an "evil cult" leader, China Aid Association reported. Pastor Zhu and four other leaders were detained by authorities during a church service in Dushu village, Henan province on Oct. 12. While the other four leaders were sentenced to five days of administrative detention, Pastor Zhu was sentenced to 15 days.
Two days after Pastor Zhu's release from detention, he was sentenced and taken to a labor camp in an unknown location. There is considerable concern for his health as he suffers from heart disease.
(the above report is from Voice of the Martyrs)