There were several factors that helped speed up the task of fulfilling the great commission. No doubt, persecution was one of the factors but here are few reasons that helped propel the gospel to the ends of the earth.
The community God had chosen to spread the gospel was the devout Jews who had a rich heritage of being immersed in the tenets of the books of Moses, David, and the Prophets. Right from the time of Adam, God was preparing the way of salvation through his chosen people. Hence, when Peter spoke by the power of His Spirit, referring to familiar scripture passages, it helped the people grasp the truth. God had indeed prepared a receptive community.
Similarly when we share our journey of Christ, we need to identify receptive people or communities who could then pass on what we share with them.
The apostles didn’t try to control or micro-manage the movement. Expressions of praise, thanksgiving, and sharing were not programmed, as it were, but they were spontaneous initiatives, because of God’s Spirit at work.
Though the three thousand were new in the faith, we do not find the apostles trying to ensure that every expression of their commitment to Christ was under their watchful eye. For example, the breaking of the bread in homes was not discouraged or stopped. Therefore when persecution did come, the people simply continued what they had already been accustomed to, even without the oversight of the apostles. We need to always be aligned to His Spirit and take the initiative to do what’s right.
The gatherings were not limited to the temple courts; intimate times of prayer fellowship or teaching took place even in the homes of people. It wasn’t limited to one or two days of the week, it was a 24/7 celebration. The simple and reproducible pattern that was modeled in Jerusalem became the norm wherever they went.
Let’s not substitute traditions for the simple and reproducible model that’s been described in Scripture.