New Testament Significance

The location and timing of the Alexamenos Graffito reflects the presence and opposition of early Christianity in ancient Rome. In the New Testament, the mockery of Jesus Christ as well as Christianity had already been anticipated.

Jesus foretold that his followers would be hated and persecuted by all nations because of him (Mt 24.9). Besides, Jesus also mentioned that some who once followed him would be ashamed of him and of his words (Mk 8.38; Lk 9:26). Importantly, Jesus claimed that anyone who wants to be his disciple should take up the cross and follow him (Mt 10.38; 16.24; Mk 8.34; Lk 9.23; 14.27). In the Roman Empire, the cross represented shame. Hence, Jesus’ disciples should bear shame and ridicule for his sake, inasmuch as Jesus himself was treated with contempt and mockery (Lk 23.11).

Likewise, apostle Paul also put that the message of the cross seems foolish to non-Christians (1 Cor 1.18, 23). Meanwhile, Paul himself also underwent sufferings for the sake of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith (2 Cor 11. 16-27; 2 Tim 1.8; 2.9). Moreover, the writer of Hebrews encouraged Christians to fix their eyes on Jesus so that they can endure the persecution and shame associated with the cross (Heb 12.2).

In a word, the mockery of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith, expressed by the Alexamenos Graffito, was anticipated in the New Testament.

New Testament Significance