Collecting ancient coins is fun because each coin is a time machine. You hold it in your hand and find yourself transported back to the time when it was struck. Since we're on the subject of Christianity and Rome, let us examine a numismatic link between them.
The coin shown below is a part of my ancient coin collection.
Known as an AE Prutah, this is the ancient Roman bronze coin of Jerusalem. Prutah is a word borrowed from the Mishnah and the Talmund meaning "a coin of smaller value" -- one thousandth of a pound. A loaf of bread at that time sold for 10 Prutot (plural form). Prutot were manufactured in Israel because the Jewish people refused to trade in Roman coinage.
This particular coin was minted during the Prefecture of Pontius Pilate who governed from 26 to 36 A.D. Pilate was of the equestrian rank and a member of the Pontii family. During the time of his administration, Pilate offended the religious sensibilities of his subjects, leading to harsh criticism from Philo and Josephus. According to the latter, he was ordered back to Rome after harshly suppressing a Samaritan uprising, arriving just after the death of Tiberius, which occurred on 16 March in the year 37.
What makes the coin especially interesting is the code LIZ on the reverse which means it was struck in 29 A.D. around the time of the crucifixion. So we have a coin which we know was struck in Jerusalem during the Prefecture of Pontius Pilate and may have been in circulation at the end of Jesus' life.
Who might have held this coin in their hand?