“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. … Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” (Acts 8:1,4)
After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples that they would be His witnesses “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But the following chapters only describe the growth of the early church in Jerusalem. “With great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33), but nobody seemed to leave Jerusalem to spread the Good News beyond the city boundaries, although God had poured out His Holy Spirit to empower them for this task.
It did not take long before Jesus’ adversaries started to persecute the Christians. Jesus had foretold that this would happen: “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for My name’s sake” (Luke 21:12).
But the book of Acts also records how God used this persecution to bring about something good. All those Christians who were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria “went about preaching the word”. Their difficult situation became a perfect opportunity to spread the Gospel! God blessed their preaching, bringing many people to faith.
Can you think of a difficult situation in your life that was used by God to bring about something good?