Someone who tells you to do something and doesn’t tell you how can be very frustrating. If the task is of any magnitude and size, you need direction.
That is one of the many things that made Jesus Christ such an outstanding leader. He not only gave us the task, He gave us the needed direction to finish what He started:
“You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
They were to start at Jerusalem, the lead city, the very city where Christ had been rejected and crucified. They were then to go from there to the local area of Judea. With Samaria mentioned and Galilee implied, this meant the outer area of Palestine.
They were then to go to “the end of the earth.” To the disciples this would have likely been Rome, the capital of the empire and the place where people gathered from every corner. A direct line from Judea to Rome would have been more than 1400 miles long.
The book of Acts records this progress of the gospel, first in Jerusalem (Chapters 1–7), then in all Judea and Samaria (Chapters 8–12), and finally to the worldwide Gentile sphere (Chapters 13–28). What a plan! What more detail is needed?
Two things are worth noticing. The entire world needs the gospel. That means your local neighborhood, not just the people overseas. A church’s mission should be an extension of their local evangelism, not an excuse for not evangelizing at home. It’s not either/or; it’s both/and.
Second, put yourself in the disciples’ shoes. The phrase “all Judea and Samaria” must have struck a note of discomfort as Jews typically stayed clear of Samaria. A Samaritan woman once said to Christ, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? For the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9).
The point was clear. We are to take the Gospel where it is needed. That often means to the people who are not like us or with those whose company we don’t prefer. We must remember, though, we are not there for them to meet our needs, we are there to meet theirs.
Christ gave us the plan. Start at home and go worldwide. The gospel has no boundaries. Why should we?
(Note: This article originally appeared in EvanTell's Spring 2018 issue of Toolbox. View our Toolbox archives!)