Day: 40 To the End of the Earth
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
Your witness starts in “Jerusalem” - in your city, neighborhood, and family - but it doesn’t stop there! Jesus goes on to say that His followers will also be witnesses “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Judea was the area occupied by the nation of Israel, the disciples’ home country. Samaria was the country bordering Judea; the Samaritans were relatives of the the Jews. The end of the earth means, of course, the whole world. That included the areas the disciples knew about: the whole Roman Empire, Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. It also included the places no one knew about, like the Americas.
The disciples witnessing to Judea would be like you and I ministering to our state or country. Maybe reaching out to extended family in other places. Maybe supporting church planting ministries in other cities. For some of the disciples, and for some of us, it will mean moving - there was a church in Jerusalem, but according to the book of Acts, churches started in other Jewish cities, too, and the apostles traveled to visit and preach there.
Samaria was Judea’s “next door neighbor,” and it was also a place the Jews looked down on. The Samaritans were related to the Jews, but they didn’t worship God at the temple in Jerusalem or follow all of the Old-Testament laws, so the Jews viewed them as sinful and unclean. What group of people do you look down on? They could be your “Samaritans.” God may be calling you to witness to them yourself.
Finally, the apostles traveled to “the end of the earth.” We know from scripture that missionaries from the early churches traveled to parts of Africa, to Rome, to modern-day Turkey, even to Spain. There are legends that apostles traveled to England and India, too. Today, missionaries are working all over the world, striving to preach the Gospel so that everyone can know about God’s Love. There are still groups of people who have never heard of Jesus, and many more countries and areas that need more churches, more preachers, and more witnesses. You are called to witness to “the end of the earth.” You may never travel that far but you can support church planters and missionaries there, and you can definitely pray for the people and for the witnesses.
Questions for reflection and discussion
- Do you have a “Samaria,” a place or group you are reluctant to witness to?
- How can you witness to places far away?
Dear God, You have promised to save people from every tribe, language, people, and nation. We want to work with You on that mission! Show us how we can be witnesses, too. In Jesus’ name, amen.