When Jesus said he was going to send his disciples into Samaria as his witnesses (Acts 1:8), he meant he was going to send them into enemy territory. Jews and Samaritans had agreed to hate one another for nearly a thousand years. To a Jew, the Samaritans were despised half-breeds who intermarried with their Assyrian conquerors back in 723BC, and adopted some of their pagan religious practices. The Mishnah (a rabbinic commentary) says: “He that eats the bread of the Samaritans is like to one that eats the flesh of swine.” Yet there is no escaping that, after two millennia, Jesus continues to send us with his message to the very ones with whom we’d rather not talk, or associate; and yes, even to those we may think...are swine. Click this link to download.
According to Acts 1:8, the Risen Christ sent his disciples first into Jerusalem, and then into “all Judea." We may think of “Judea” today as the immediate surrounding area, the community in which we live and work. In Acts 16:11-15 we learn how Paul was able to extend God’s kingdom in the Roman city of Philippi through a business woman named Lydia. The story reminds us that how we live and work in our own community is a witness to the King and his mission. Click this link to download.