“And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Acts 8:1b [ESV]
In a flash, everything changed. Life as usual ceased and the world plunged into a time of fear and uncertainty.
These words apply to our current moment, enduring a global pandemic, as much as they do to the time of “great persecution” the early Church faced. The burgeoning new church, incubating a vibrant new Way within Jerusalem’s cradle, was forced to splinter apart. They were under siege. New believers, untethered from their apostolic anchor, fled through the Judean countryside and into the surrounding nations.
What did they feel? Fear? Confusion? That this new, seemingly fragile faith was threatened with eradication?
Most likely they felt a mixed bag of many things. But after a brief time, the scattered believers regained their bearings and “went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). The crisis turned out to be a vehicle that God, in His sovereignty, used to further his missional purposes. The Gospel entered new nations and began its inexorable march to the ends of the earth.
God has repeated this process throughout history. Plagues, persecution, and disasters all have come and gone, appearing as threats but proving to be kindling that has stoked the fires of mission.
Now, with the Church scattered in a different way, what might God do? Instead of gathering together physically on Sunday mornings and various weeknights, we journey on digital roads, streaming church services and Gospel messages wherever we go.
Might this moment be another watershed moment in Church mission history? How can we move past our own fear and uncertainty to proclaim Christ when we’re physically and digitally scattered?
Lord, thank you for your sovereign control of all things, even the chaos of today. I give my anxieties to you and pray that you’d give me the peace, wisdom, and creativity to proclaim your greatness to those around me, both digitally and physically. Revive my heart in this time, and use me to help bring the Gospel to the very ends of the earth. Amen.
By Jason Weimer
Used by Permission
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