In Acts 8, we begin to see the fulfillment of Christ’s statement in Acts 1:8. He had told his disciples that they would be his witnesses throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. However, as often happens with people, they had gotten comfortable in Jerusalem. The Church was growing in Jerusalem, many people were coming to Christ, and they saw no need to leave Jerusalem. Then Stephen was stoned. Acts 8 begins by telling us Saul approved of Stephen’s execution and then there arose great persecution against the church. The result of the persecution? The church scattered…to Judea and Samaria. One of the biggest conclusions we can draw from this chapter is that Jesus’ mission will be accomplished, even if persecution is necessary. As the church was persecuted, the gospel went forth and the rest of the chapter shares story after story of those coming to Jesus because of the scattering of the church.
We must be careful to not fall into the same trap as the church in Jerusalem. Life as a Christian in America has been quite comfortable. We have mega-churches in cities all across the country. Churches are reaching their local communities with the gospel. But have we become so comfortable that we aren’t going to the unreached people groups of the world? There are still, at this moment, over 6,000 people groups that have never heard the gospel of Jesus. Will we go? Or will it take great persecution to arise in America for God to get his people to complete the mission? As this passage shows, God will do whatever it takes to accomplish his purposes. I pray we would be faithful to the command.