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. | Acts 1:8
The question of what is my Samaria, has been on the back of my mind since the conference last week. In Acts 1, we see that Jesus has told the apostles to be His witnesses in four different places: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the end of the earth. What are the differences between these and is there even any distinction between them? I would say, yes, there are many differences. But rather than giving a deep exegetical explanation on this passage, I am going to jump right to application; applying what these places would have been to the apostles, to what they could be to us. Hopefully this will make sense.
Jerusalem = Our home. The place where we are most comfortable. It is not difficult to be yourself in this place because everyone else is like you. Culturally, ethnically, experientially, etc.
Judea = A little bit outside of our comfort zone. It looks similar to us, but deep inside, we are much different. When we are in our Judea, we tend to hang out with people who are similar to us, rather than hanging out with those who we know are different from us. We need to reach out of our comfort zone and expand our worldview in this context.
Samaria = This place looks nothing like where we originally came from. It is not home. We do not know it, trust it, nor do we want to be there. It is the place you desperately try to avoid. It is the people you would not want to be caught dead with.
The end of the earth = You get my point. Continuing on the theme of Samaria. Not easy. But there is lots of work to be done there. And we are being called there if we like it or not.
We need to stop and ask ourselves what is my Samaria? Who are those people, groups, places that we are scared of because of differences? Then we need to ask why? Why do we hold these grievances, prejudices, judgments, and fears against some others?
We need to do something different. We need to take a risk and follow Christ into the unknown. To the places where we are not comfortable. To the places where the people are different then ourselves. To the places where we feel vulnerable and where we feel outcast. To the places where God can show us He is a good God. As we go out into our Jerusalem’s, Judea’s, Samaria’s, and go out to the end of the earth [wherever that may be for you], go, serve, transform, and see God at work in our lives and in the lives of the others. Become a credible witness no matter where and everywhere the Lord may lead; to whoever the Lord may lead you to. Together we need to be a good and credible witness to the end of the earth: as the body of Christ led by the power of the Holy Spirit. No matter what differences we may have, we must serve and love God’s world together. As we unite together, even together with our differences sticking out like a sore thumb [if a sore thumb really sticks out that much], we would be transformed to become more like the people we were meant to be.