The followers of Christ in Jerusalem were exuberant about their faith. Their commitment to Christ was visible to all and the Lord daily added many more. They were already accustomed to sharing their faith in a non-threatening manner, as they met with one another and enjoyed the favor of all people. The joyful sharing and caring was not limited to the apostles. The practice of celebrating the Lord’s supper wasn’t limited to the temple. The joyful communities of disciples were meeting across the city, in their homes.
Hence when the persecution did come, it did not curtail the spread of the gospel but instead, unsung, unnamed heroes took on the responsibility to share their faith to all. Based on numerical references in Acts, we can estimate that approximately 25,000 left the city of Jerusalem with the message of the gospel on their lips. Stephen’s martyrdom didn’t paralyze the spread of the gospel but rather increased it 25,000 times.
The word ‘scattered’ does not simply mean dispersed, to throw, cast or dissolve. It comes from the word ‘Diasperio’- ‘Dia’ meaning throughout and ‘sperio’ meaning to sow seed. Therefore the scattering of the early disciples was the scattering of seed to bring about a great harvest. The faithful, though seemingly uprooted, were actually transplanted by the sovereign will of God to help spread the truth of the gospel.
When you face hardships and persecutions, let the good news within burst forth and take root on new ground.