Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
The pastor looks so dignified as he gets up to preach a sermon. He has spent long hours studying a portion of God’s Word and in a well-prepared and polished fashion he delivers a message that clearly shows you your sin and points you to the cross of your Savior Jesus. At least that’s the ideal! When pastors strive for this ideal, they strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus’ closest followers who were commissioned by the risen Lord himself (Matthew 28:19). Throughout the Book of Acts the apostles looked so confident, polished, and prepared as they preached Christ boldly. But what do we see here in Acts chapter 8? “A great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1). How terrible! Because of violent opposition to Christianity, believing men and women were scattered! They were forced away from their loving and supportive church home in Jerusalem. They no longer had the apostles that God sent to preach to them. What could they do now? In verse 4, God tells us that “those who were scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
How amazing! These men and women were not divinely called to take a leading role in the church like the apostles were. They were mostly new believers in Christ. They were not sent preachers in the sense that Christ sent them out with a divine call. They were scattered preachers! Painful events in their life had forced them away from familiar people and places. Once scattered, they came into contact with new people and places. Many of them did what often comes naturally to a new believer. They shared the good news of Jesus wherever they went! Were they as bold, as persuasive, and as powerful as the apostles? Probably not. But through their testimony to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, people were saved and the church grew. It is amazing how God worked through these scattered preachers!
Sometimes people today may get the impression that because they are not as polished and prepared as a pastor, they have no business sharing the gospel with people. Nonsense! A professional football player doesn’t always need the perfect moves to score some points. Sometimes, all they need to do is push ahead, stumble, and bumble their way across the goal line. The reality of a Savior who died on a cross to forgive our stumbling and bumbling attempts to preach the gospel is certainly a source of great comfort for pastors who have been sent to preach. Let that same gospel comfort empower your efforts to share Jesus as a “scattered preacher.” You may not have been sent to preach in the same way as your pastor has been sent. But God has used events in your life to move you around and put you into contact with people who need to hear about Jesus. You have been “scattered” for a purpose. The Book of Acts shows us what wonderful things God can do with his “scattered preachers.”
Dearest Jesus, thank you for using the events of my life to bring me into contact with people who need your love and forgiveness. Bless me with opportunities to share your love and forgiveness that have been shared with me. Amen.