In a new segment I’d like to call Word on Wednesdays (W.O.W.!), I’d like for us to discuss a bit of scripture that God has laid on my heart each week.
Today’s W.O.W.! verses come from Acts 1:8 and Acts 8:1.
Yes, you read that correctly. Let’s dive in!
Let me set the scene:
Christ has already lived, died, and risen again. He has appeared on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) and has had his infamous fishing trip with his disciples (John 21). In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus’s disciples witness his ascension into Heaven.
He offers them words of comfort here, but also assigns them a task: “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. This assignment is really more of an invitation into God’s plan to reach the lost nations of the world. This assignment is for all believers–not just for the few gathered there that day.
Christ calls all believers to be “witnesses in Jerusalem”
- Jerusalem was the disciples’ hometown. It was where their ministry started, and it was where Christ wanted it to continue.
- Christ wants each of us to begin as a witness in our Jerusalem. But he doesn’t want his message to stop there…
Christ calls believers to serve as witnesses to “all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”.
- Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of the earth. This is the order in which Christ wished for his disciples to tackle this assignment–beginning with their own communities and spreading outward.
- Therefore, we should follow this model, by beginning in the early stages of our faith right where we are planted–in our communities. Then, we should branch out into neighboring communities, states, and quite possibly other countries.
But let’s see this in action; let’s move on to Acts 8:1.
This takes place immediately after the stoning of Stephen. Up until this time, the gospel had mainly been shared within Jerusalem. While there was persecution of the Christians there, Stephen was the first martyr for the faith. Yet, notice what comes of his death: “a great persecution [breaks] out against the church in Jerusalem” and as a result, “all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria”.
Interesting, isn’t it?
Stephen’s death leads to an open persecution of the church, which causes the believers to travel to the very places they were told to go with the Good News–and they did according to Acts 8:4. AND not only do the events in these verses seem to mirror one another but the scriptural reference numbers are also mirror images of one another.
Acts 1:8 and Acts 8:1
Just let that sink in for a moment. I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.