So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. (Acts 1.7-9)
When the Lord spoke these words, He was doing several things. First, He was emphasizing God’s control over future events. God would use His proper judgment to carry out His plan on this globe. Second, He was describing the ministry of the Apostles as being empowered by the Holy Spirit. Third, He emphasised the type of ministry they would be accomplishing as Jesus-witnesses. And Fourthly, He detailed in advance the geographical process of their expanding movement.
This latter aspect of Acts 1.7-9 is something that I ponder over quite a bit. The city of birth for the Christian movement is Jerusalem, for as Acts 2 demonstrates it is from there the movement expanded. The Book of Acts outlines a generic expansion process: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (1.8). It seems quite correct to agree with E. Earle Ellis’ analysis of “the end of the earth” as being an expression meaning the furthermost geographical points known on the Ancient Greco-Roman map.
Now with the online community, I wonder how well the expansion of the spread of Christ, and the demonstration of ministry of his disciples is going. To be sure there are blogs, like this one, dedicated to sharing and defending Christian principles. There are those Christian megasites, mainline somewhat commercial website endeavors. However, there is also countless millions of individuals who share their faith online via chat rooms, emails – yes even the dreaded spam-mails, and through socializing websites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com.
I encourage all those Christians who are entangled within the world wide web to do like the early Christians did. Acts 8.4 says: “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” Get out there in the ether-world and preach the unadulterated word!
- Scripture references are from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible (Wheaton: Crossway, 2001).
- Ellis, E. Earle. “’The End of the Earth’ (Acts 1:8).” Bulletin for Biblical Research 1 (1991): 123-132 (Link);