And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. Acts 8:1-2
As we continue to look at the death of Stephen, we see that Paul consented or approved of his death. Saul began to persecute the Church, as it says “there was a great persecution” why did Paul do this? Well he had zeal for God, yet his zeal was misled. He believed he was honoring God with his work, however Paul was actually fighting against God, as he will later find out on the Road to Damascus
We see that the Church began to become scattered, remember how Jesus described us as sheep scattered without a Shepherd. Paul was actually doing the work of Satan and trying to destroy the Body of Christ, but what we found out over history is that the Church is unbreakable. The more you persecute the Church, the more it grows stronger and bigger in size!
Notice there was a great sorrow or lamentation over Stephen. As stated previously he was believed to be the first martyr of Christianity, but Stephen is now with The Lord as we seen in Chapter 7
As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Acts 8:3-4
Paul tried to single handedly destroy the Church, he went from house to house , seeking Christians and putting them in prison or persecuting them. However the more he persecuted the Church , the stronger they became. As the Christians began scattered, it allowed them an opportunity to share the gospel to a larger audience. Christianity was actually spreading due to the persecution
This reign of terror by Paul was why the Church was reluctant to accept Paul when he became Born Again on the Road to Damascus. We must remember that Jesus has the power to transform even the worst of sinners!
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. Acts 8:5-7
Philip used this opportunity to head to Samaria and preach the gospel there. There he started a revival, performing miracles and healings by the Holy Spirit. Even though the Church was being persecuted, the Body of Christ was growing and spreading across the entire world
God can use what was meant for our harm and use it for our good, don’t live in fear, trust in Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you Amen!