The Martyrdom of Stephen instigated a firestorm of persecution against Christians, and the members of the thousands-strong Jerusalem church were faced with the choice: be imprisoned (or worse,) or run. They ran.
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
As they fled for their lives, I wonder if Jesus’ last words to His disciples rang in their ears… “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, & you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, & Samaria, & to the ends of the earth.”
Because it was happening. They were now going throughout Judea. Samaria. To the ends of the earth. And everywhere they went, they were preaching the word & sharing the gospel.
I bet they didn’t think it would be like this.
Still, in the middle of their flight, they had the surety of God’s promised Holy Spirit, indwelling them, filling them with strength to keep going, and boldness to keep sharing the gospel. Grace. Repentance. Forgiveness of sins. New life in Christ.
Even on the run.
Even when we’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
Even when the whole world seems to be turned upside-down.
Our faith in Christ is precisely for such times of adversity; our need for a Saviour is never so obvious as when we’re faced with suffering and difficulty. Its at these moments we discover the depth and breadth of what it means to have a Rock of Salvation in Christ; a hope that goes beyond this life; a peace that goes beyond understanding, that transcends circumstances.