The Branch

In the first century there was a movement in Galilee and Judea led by Judas of Galilee in 6 AD. After Judas was killed by the Romans, his followers were driven underground and became know as the Zealots.

In modern times and the search for the historical Jesus the evidence is pointing more and more to the Jesus movement being a branch of the Zealots who sought the independence of Israel from Rome through less violent means, i.e., God would restore the kingdom to Israel by destroying the Romans himself.

In other words, the Romans didn't hunt down and crucify Christians because of their religious beliefs but because they were Zealots.

Being the curious sort, I typed "Jesus was a Zealot" in my Google search and found some very interesting articles and books on the subject. Here is one at the top of my list.

Maybe that article will spur someone else to look further into it and maybe, just maybe check out what the Emperor Julian (Julian the Apostate) had to say about the church created by Constantine and Eusebius.