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Thursday, 9 June 2022
Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Acts 8:4
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In the previous verse, Saul was seen to make havoc on the church, dragging people off and putting them in prison. With that, Luke next records, “Therefore.”
It is because of the persecution of the church, notably by Saul, that the events now about to happen will actually come about, and which concerns “those who were scattered.”
In their desire to not be dragged away and put in prison, the believers in Jerusalem got up and left. This is what was already stated in verse 8:1, and which is being repeated now after the reason for their scattering has been explicitly stated –
“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Acts 8:1
It is true that this must have been a time of both fear and stress on the believers. Being uprooted suddenly and then rushing off to another place is a difficult change on most people, but we are being told these things for a specific reason, which is that those who were scattered “went everywhere preaching the word.”
The word translated as “everywhere” is dierchomai. It comes from dia (through) and erchomai (to come or go). It’s not that they went everywhere and preached, but that they preached everywhere they went. Wherever they passed through, on the way to the next place, they would boldly tell the people about what they knew.
As can be seen, the information now fills in what was first stated in verse 8:1. Now, and for the next several chapters, many details will continue to be filled in, and then in verse 11:19, this narrative will be called to mind again –
“Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:19-21
This will be stated after the conversion of some from the mixed-race of the Samaritans, after the conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch, after Saul’s conversion, and after the conversion of an Italian centurion living in Caesarea. Thus, the words of Jesus in Acts 1:8 will be on their way to total fulfillment with each step being meticulously recorded by Luke –
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Life application: As difficult as it must have been for the believers to be uprooted by the persecution they faced, and as difficult as it must have been for Paul to later contemplate his actions towards the believers he persecuted, the word of the Lord was actually being fulfilled through these things.
As the Lord said that the word would be spread even to the end of the earth, we can know that the things that seem difficult or even terrible that happen now are a part of the larger plan to make this happen. Nothing is happening that is outside of the knowledge of God, and He has the ability to use all that happens to meet His greater plan.
Let us trust this and do our best to remember it when our own times of upheaval and trial come. He is working all things out for a good end for those who are His. The word says that it is so –
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30
Surely, we know that You are in control of all things Lord God. In our own times of trial and distress, we may lose sight of that. So, Lord, send us reminders along the way to help us keep our focus. We are wholly dependent on You in this, O God. May our hearts be prepared for the challenges ahead until the day when You bring us home to glory. Amen.