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. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.Acts 8:1-8
Early on in Christianity’s history, difficultly hit the church from outside sources.
What was their response? They scattered, preached the word, and cared for the people around them.
What happened in their community? People paid attention to the good news of Jesus, healing occurred, and there was much joy in the city. Being scattered by hardship is an excellent way in which the gospel spreads throughout a community.
Currently, we are meeting in alternative church settings because of the real danger of COVID-19. As we read how the early church handled difficulty, may we, too, bring the gospel of Jesus to our neighborhoods by caring and loving others so that they can also experience “much joy” amidst loneliness, anxiety, confusion, and fear.
Questions to Consider:
- Do you the goodness of God in our current situation?
- Are any people in your life that need additional help? How can you practically serve them?
- How can you fight for joy this week rather than sadness or despair?