Hi I’m Christin Ditchfield and this is Take It To Heart!
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He told His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Thousands and thousands of people responded to the gospel message and their number increased daily. That’s when the early church first began to experience persecution from the secular government and the established religious leaders of their day. Believers were harassed and threatened. Some had their property confiscated; entire families were thrown into prison. Others were tortured and even executed for their faith.
But far from stamping out Christianity, this persecution only encouraged its growth. As one of the Church Fathers observed, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
People were drawn to a faith so real, so life-changing, so powerful that others were willing to die for it. In the faces of those who were suffering, they saw a peace that passed all understanding – a joy that trial and tribulation could not destroy. They wanted to experience this peace, this joy for themselves. Soon they, too, became followers of Jesus Christ.
Acts 8:4 tells us that “Those who had been scattered preached the Word wherever they went.” Millions of people who had never before heard the gospel message received it with gladness and thanksgiving – as a direct result of the persecution of those first believers. Satan meant to destroy the work of the kingdom, but God is sovereign. What He purposes will be accomplished.
See, He really does work all things together for the good of those He has called His own.