But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Jesus wanted the good news of the Gospel to spread from Jerusalem outward. The message was to transcend cultures moving up to Samaria and out the ends of the earth. For several hundred years God had been preparing the way for the message to spread quickly using both the Greeks and the Romans.
The Greeks were all about education and culture. So when they ran the civilized world they set up universities and learning centers from Egypt to Italy. The result was a common language among the people of different nations (Not unlike the international popularity of English today). The New Testament would be written in Greek and the message could spread rapidly.
The Romans were all about military advancement. They weren’t looking to control by education. They were looking to control by force. To manage those kinds of armies you needed well-developed roads and superstructure. So Rome built them. God used those roads to create safe and rapid travel for those 1st century missionaries.
There was only one problem. The Christians liked Jerusalem and they loved their fellowship with one another (Acts 2:44-47). They weren’t interested in leaving town.
That’s the setting for Acts 8:1. Following the stoning of Stephen we read,
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 (Acts 8:1).
It was the uncomfortable truth of persecution that would drive those early Christians from Jerusalem; they would take the message with them, and spread it to the entire world.
Sometimes God uses persecution (Acts 8:1) to accomplish a witness of the gospel (Acts 1:8). Sometimes Acts 1:8 needs Acts 8:1.
Are you praying for the persecuted church in places like: North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Iran? A great source to develop your prayer list for persecuted Christians is: http://www.opendoorsusa.org/
Are you considering with whom God might have you share the Gospel?