‘’GO YE THEREFORE TO ALL NATIONS” THROUGH SCATTERING
“He told them many things in parables, saying, “Listen carefully: a sower went out to sow [seed in his field]” Matthew 13:3. Scatter, spread, broadcast, disperse, and pepper are some of the many similar words that convey the meaning and method of “sowing seed”. One of the many images that Jesus used to compare the kingdom was that of a farmer “sowing seed in his field”. Jesus later explained to His disciples that the “field” was those who would hear the word of the kingdom.
Broadcasting is a method where the seeds are scattered over an open and prepared field. One of the advantages is that it is the quickest method. The interesting thing about sowing in this method is that the seed requirement is greater and the spacing of the crops is irregular and makes cultivation and harvesting more difficult.
When Jesus chose to use an analogy for the sowing or broadcasting of the kingdom, it is interesting He chose a comparison that required a greater volume of seed to get a good result and the results of this effort was not always successful or easily cultivated or harvested. Some seed fell by the wayside, some fell on thorny ground, and some fell on rocky soil.
Scattering or broadcasting also seems to be a definite method that our Lord used throughout the scriptures. Adam and Eve’s great commission was to “fill the earth”. The languages of the people at the Tower of Babel were comfused by the Lord, resulting in a scattering of people over the face of the earth. “Come, let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) go down and there confuse and mix up their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the surface of the entire earth; and they stopped building the city. Genesis 11: 7-8
The Lord used the Assyrians, Babylonians, and the Persians to mix, scatter, and broadcast the Israelite people over a period of hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. The Lord accomplish His purposes through this sowing or broadcasting of His people and much of the purpose and results are recorded in the prophets.
Finally, as we approach the second chapter of Acts, the dynamite of power of the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and over three-thousand plus people that heard the Peter’s sermon at Pentecost in their own language, believed, and were added to the body. The dynamics of the Spirit filling and falling upon the believers on that day scattered them back to seventeen people groups, to seventeen cultures, and speaking seventeen different languages.
“They were completely astonished, saying, “Look! Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears in our own language or native dialect? 9 [Among us there are] Parthians, Medes and Elamites, and people of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia [Minor], 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and the visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (Gentile converts to Judaism), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we all hear them speaking in our [native] tongues about the mighty works of God!” Acts 2: 7-11
Approximately 35AD, two years later, Stephen, a Hellenist Jew will be executed for his testimony and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts states that Stephen spoke boldly regarding the scriptures and performed many miracles of healing. The Torah, the prophets, and the psalms were the scriptures that this Greek speaking Hellenist used to reveal the Truth of Jesus Christ to those Orthodox Jewish scholars and leaders. Some believe that Jerusalem was populated with at least ten-thousand believers. Among these believers some were of the apostle’s doctrine, some were Freedman Jews, some were Hellenists Jews, and some from the temple priesthood who had come to believe in Jesus as their Messiah.
Broadcasting and scattering is a central and important method of our Lord as He “mixes it up”, “shakes it up” and permeates Himself in all directions and in all people. At the stoning of Stephen, except for the apostles who stayed in Jerusalem, it is stated in Acts that nearly all believers in Jesus had scattered and disbursed throughout Judea and Samaria.
“And on that day a great and relentless persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem; and the believers were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except for the apostles”. Acts 8:1
At the stoning of Stephen, 35AD, Paul meets the Lord Jesus on his way to Damascus and begins his first missionary journey eleven years later, 46AD. Paul has three additional missionary journeys until his execution three years before the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70AD. That was a twenty-one-year period of scattering from Jerusalem and Antioch throughout Asia Minor, Greece, and ending up in Italy. During this time Paul scattered the Gospel and kingdom to scores of regions, cities, villages, and numerous stopping off points.
By 70Ad, Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple and its walls. Rabbi Simcha Pearlmutter states that 75K – 125K Jewish believers inhabited the Holy City. Upon the destruction of Jerusalem another scattering and disbursing occurred. Through the dynamite/dynamic of the Holy Spirit a penetration and permeation forced a change upon the lives, cultures and terrain to the uttermost part of the earth.
A monk named Martin Luther in the 14th/15th century set in motion what is known as the reformation and again the dynamite and dynamics of the Holy Spirit created a scattering and broadcast of His body. Since Martin Luther’s time and due in large part to the reformation there has been an explosion of denominations and a permeating of the kingdom throughout the earth. According to the two-volume World Christian Encyclopedia (Barrett, Kurian, and Johnson; Oxford University Press) the current count of denominations includes but not limited to, 22,0000 independents, 9,000 protestants 1,600 marginals, 781 orthodox, 242 Catholics, and 168 Anglicans.
Building kingdom communities still employs the method of scattering throughout the neighborhoods. We are to root ourselves as pitched tents in the neighborhood and persevere the community as salt and light to produce fruit which will scatter and broadcast to transform adjoining community pathways. An important element of building kingdom communities is not to congregate but to disperse.