In my previous blog post, I suggested a fresh look at Acts 1:8. You can find the previous post here.
Rather than looking at the geographical aspects of “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth,” I suggested Christians also should thinking relationally. Again, I am not arguing that it is 100% relational, but both geographic and relational.
In the reconsideration of the passage, I proposed the following:
- Jerusalem = my family/my people
- Judea = my neighbors
- Samaria = my enemies (and we know how Jesus expects us to treat our enemies)
- The Ends of the Earth = everyone else
Reaching anyone in any one of these with the Gospel is an important task. And it is a task that can only be accomplished when we preach the Word and the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of unbelievers. I don’t see one of these as more important than the others. However, two of these are much easier for us to neglect – our enemies and everyone else – those who are relationally and/or geographically distant from us. Out of these two, one is even easier to neglect.
As Christians, we want to do all we can to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We pray for missionaries and mission efforts. We fund missionaries and their work. And many of us take short term trips overseas to share the Gospel. But what about our enemies. Are we actively praying for them or taking them the Gospel? Sure, there is some overlap in the mission efforts we fund – some of our missionaries serve in countries that are political enemies of our country. But are we really looking for opportunities to share with our enemies (personally rather than corporately)?
Some of us have marked our Samaria off the map – scribbled through the name; blocked it from our view. Out of sight, out of mind. Judging by what I see on social media, others have not. These people know their enemies very well and are actively lobbing tweets at them.
I am suggesting we need to find our Samaria and do what it takes to be a witness there. I say “find” very loosely. Maybe I should say “rediscover” or “remember” or “acknowledge” our Samaria. Our Samaria includes people from other cultures. People who follow other religions. People from different political parties. People we make fun of or argue with through tweets and memes. The funny thing is, if we spend more time praying for our enemies rather than talking about them or tweeting about them, our attitudes about them can change over time. Most of all, we need to confess that these people are created in God’s image and are worthy of our witness.
Photo by Timon Studler at Unsplash