The Apostles Stayed
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Acts 8
And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. (Acts 8:1–5)
This passage records the first widespread wave of persecution against the young church. Stephen had been killed for his faith, and the opponents of the church were fired up. As the temperature rose in Jerusalem, two things happened: the church scattered; and the apostles stayed put.
We can understand the first move. Who wouldn’t scatter under persecution? As the persecutors began knocking on the door, the sensible thing would be to flee. Many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem would have families around Israel, safe places to stay. Others might simply have been visiting Jerusalem when they heard the preaching of the Apostles and placed their faith in Christ. They could simply go back to their homes, others would rely on the strong culture of hospitality which existed at the time.
All this is understandable: but why would the Apostles stay? We can only guess, but it would seem that they wished to continue with their oversight of the new church. These were times of extraordinary growth, and we read that each day more people were added to the number of the church. There were thousands of Christians by this stage. There is something else worthy of note, though. Consider the bravery of the Apostles. They stayed amid the persecution. This was a life threatening situation.
We are often told that Christianity is founded on a lie. Jesus never rose from the dead. All this is a later invention. The disciples faked the whole thing.
The thing is: would they have risked their very lives for a lie? Would you?