There is no doubt that the death of Stephen in the first century was a heavy blow to the early church. Here was a man, who was steadily gaining prominence as a notable evangelist, spokesperson and leader of the church, only to be abruptly martyred at the height of his powers. To make matters worse, a great persecution broke out almost immediately against the believers. Interestingly, what followed is something exemplary and deserving of note.
The believers, in response to the persecution, fled in different directions. Commendably however, they took the gospel along as they went. One can only imagine these fugitives, threatened, hard-pressed and agonized; yet preaching the gospel as they ran from place to place. The cumulative effect of this was that in a short while, the regions of Judea and Samaria were covered with the message of Christ.
A careful look at these events, suggests that the Lord gladly permitted the distress of that time. In one of His farewell speeches, Jesus had announced that His disciples would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world. Meanwhile, they tarried in Jerusalem; and it will require an invisible push, to drive them to evangelize Judea and Samaria. Thank God, they knew how to carry the gospel light everywhere they went, else, the whole episode may have availed little for kingdom expansion.
In like manner, believers today ought to possess this understanding of everywhere you go, go as and with the light. It is the mindset of everywhere you go, affect a life. It is important we realize that we are today responsible for taking the gospel light and message, which was handed down to us, to the uttermost parts of the world. And just as He dispersed the disciples, He would of necessity, scatter us like seeds of the sower in every part of the world so that His goal of evangelizing and lighting up the world can be accomplished.
He said, ‘ye are the light of the world’ and no man lights a candle and keeps it under the bushel. Indeed, we may not truly light up the world, when we are all in one location or profession. So, he has been sending us out (and will continue to do so) through the vehicles of employment, marriage, opportunities, appointments, national service, persecutions, missionary calling and so on; and our obligation, everywhere He takes us is to be witnesses (examples of and testimonies to the reality of the person and work of Jesus). This we would do by our character of life and gospel message.
In all, He is saying expressly to us, I would send you here and there. It matters less where you are sent; simply make sure when you get there, you light the candle of grace and illuminate the territory.