That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Acts 8:1
The death and resurrection of Jesus may not have changed human nature, but it surely transformed the lives of the apostles. When Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, the disciples ran for their lives, leaving Jesus to face the consequences of his ministry alone. However, in this passage, as the apostles took up the mantle of leadership themselves, they were no longer easily shaken from their mission. Whereas they scattered in fear of persecution in Gethsemane, in this story they were the only ones to stand firm as the church faced persecution in Jerusalem. They were no longer chaff driven by the wind, but rather rocks upon which a community of faith could be built—a community against which the gates of hell will not prevail.
The real and unfolding grace of this story is that God uses the church members who fled Jerusalem to found new Christian communities throughout the Roman Empire. The church scatters, and yet God used the dispersed fragments of that community to seed faith in regions the church had not even considered entering. God can use us for blessing whether we are gathered or scattered, whether we are faithful or fainthearted, whether we are rock solid or windblown.
Are you scattered, or are your feet planted in the bedrock of faith?
Lord, I know that my faith and my commitment to You are shaky at times. I would likely scatter in the face of persecution. I would flee from Your side like the disciples and the members of the Jerusalem church. And yet, I rejoice in the fact that You can use me to Your glory, even when I am running for my life in the opposite direction. How glorious—You are faithful even when I am not! In Your name, I pray. AMEN.