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Beyond Sunday: A Gospel Explosion

[Editor's note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to carry you through the week.]

Focus Verses of the Week

8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?" (Acts 2:8-12)

Commentary

The beginning of the Christian Church is reckoned from the great day on which the Holy Spirit came down, just as our Lord had promised to His Apostles. At that time, "Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven," were gathered together at Jerusalem, to keep the Feast of Pentecost (or Feast of Weeks), which was one of the three holy seasons at which God required His people to appear before Him in the place which He had chosen (Deuteronomy 16:16). Many of these devout men there converted by what they then saw and heard, to believe the Gospel; and, when they returned to their own countries, they carried back with them the news of the wonderful things which had taken place at Jerusalem. After this, the Apostles went forth "into all the world," as their Master had ordered them, to "preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). The Book of Acts tells us something of what they did, and we may learn something more about it from the Epistles. And, although this be but a small part of the whole, it will give us a notion of the rest, if we consider that, while St. Paul was preaching in Asia Minor, Greece, and at Rome, the other Apostles were busily doing the same work in other countries.

We must remember, too, the constant coming and going which in those days took place throughout the world, how Jews from all quarters went up to keep the Passover and other feasts at Jerusalem; how the great Roman empire stretched from our own island of Britain as far as Persia and Ethiopia, and people from all parts of it were continually going to Rome and returning. We must consider how merchants traveled from country to country on account of their trade; how soldiers were sent into all quarters of the empire and were moved about from one country to another. And from these things we may get some understanding of the way in which the knowledge of the Gospel would be spread, when once it had taken root in the great cities of Jerusalem and Rome. Thus it came to pass, that, by the end of the first hundred years after our Saviour's birth something was known of the Christian faith throughout all the Roman empire, and even in countries beyond it; and if in many cases, only a very little was known, still even that was a gain, and served as a preparation for more.

(Adapted from Sketches of Church History. by J.C. Robertson)

A Thought to Keep

God planned for the gospel to spread to all parts of the earth. Are you doing your part to share the good news?