“A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the Apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria…..But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.”
After Stephen’s death, by the leading priests and Pharisees, a great wave of persecution began in the church. Many lost their lives, many were beaten and tortured and many scattered across the world as it was known. Living in a country where the Gospel is freely preached, it is hard to comprehend the magnitude of this persecution. Yet just ask believers in Iran, North Korea and other anti-Christian countries. However, the incredible thing about persecution, is that it makes the church grow, not just in numbers but in complete trust in Almighty God. Of course it would be great to live in a world that is free from persecution and that day will come, yet the persecution of the believers in the book Acts, actually helped the Gospel to spread.
Our brothers and sisters who were scattered across the world, didn’t just leave in fear, but took the Gospel to the nations. They took the Great Commission literally and made disciples of all nations. It is because of them the Gospel reached so far. In the midst of persecution, God still had a plan to rescue His people from their sins.
Persecution is hard to bear. It is unfair. It is painful. It creates many why questions. BUT persecution can also increase our ability to fully rely on God. It also gives us an opportunity to show Christ to the world. Let us pray against persecution for believers but also strength to persevere it if it comes.