Bible Society of South Africa

Scattered seed - 21 May 2024

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

1And Saul approved of his murder.

Saul Persecutes the Church

That very day the church in Jerusalem began to suffer cruel persecution. All the believers, except the apostles, were scattered throughout the provinces of Judea and Samaria.

The first congregation had a lot of things to do – arrangements for a time and place for the breaking of the bread, and planning the services where they took time to pray and listen to the teachings of the apostles. The Greek-speaking Jews claimed that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of funds, so they had to appoint seven deacons to address this problem. When members sold some of their possessions and brought the money to the apostles, these funds had to be administrated.

Above all, it was their responsibility to bring the good news to as many people in Jerusalem as possible. The 3 000 who accepted Jesus on Pentecost Sunday probably needed instruction in the full story of the gospel. It really sounds like a hard-working congregation in one of our own modern cities.

It is no wonder that they had not come around to the preaching of the gospel in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Then, something drastic happened. The Sanhedrin condemned Stephen and killed him by stoning. After this, the church in Jerusalem was cruelly persecuted, with the result that many of the church members had to flee to Judea and Samaria.

Some people might see the hand of God in this. They believe he let the persecution go on to compel the believers to spread the gospel. I do not believe so. I have never seen a situation where God let something bad happen to one of his children to bring forth something good. What I know about God does not agree with such a viewpoint. Very important is that when this persecution did happen, the faithful did not try to hide, but grabbed the opportunity to take the gospel into Judea and Samaria. Acts 8:4 tells us: “The believers who were scattered went everywhere, preaching the message.”

All around us, there are still so many people living in “Judea and Samaria”, people who need to hear the message of salvation. We should not allow our very hectic lifestyles to prevent us from bringing the good news to them.

Prayer: Lord, our prayer for today is that you will bless the preaching of the gospel, wherever it might be. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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