Welcome Home – 40 Day Fast Devotion #23

New Lands

Matt Destry – Communications Pastor

Scripture

Acts 8:5

Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.

Insight

When was the last time you went into another culture? Perhaps you traveled overseas, maybe you spent some time in a different part of our city. How did you feel in that environment? Scared? Excited? Everyone speaking another language, with different customs, perhaps even different gods. It requires courage and a love for people that goes beyond ‘likeness’ to minister in that environment.

After the great persecution in Jerusalem, the followers of Jesus faced a dilemma: do they stay in Jerusalem as an underground movement, or do they move on to different places? Should they simply relocate en-masse or head out into the desert like John the Baptist?

Thankfully, we have the example of Philip to show us what disciples of Jesus are called to do. Philip heads out of Jerusalem, and, bearing the Good News of Jesus, heads to a city in Samaria. Samaritans and Jews did not usually mix (read John 4), and even Jesus’ first disciples had a hard time processing the love of Jesus for these people. Though it was not a problem for Philip, who saw this as the perfect opportunity to take the message of Jesus outside the confines of Judaism and into the ‘pagan world’.

When one door closes, it is time to seek another way. The disciples did not sit still in Jerusalem and lament the loss of opportunity. They simply found a new and innovative way to minister, with new people. It is amazing to me to think that it took persecution of such magnitude to kick-start the followers of Jesus to obey His command in Acts 1:8. The gospel will not be chained, and we will go wherever our feet are courageous enough to take us. We have a mandate to reach the people on the fringes of society, and perhaps when the front door closes, it’s time to seek another way in.